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Running head: MODELS OF ABNORMALITY Models of Abnormality Lizzette Felix Lopez Grand Canyon University: PSY 470 May 9, 2020 1
MODELS OF ABNORMALITY Models of Abnormality Abnormal psychology is the scientific study of abnormal behavior undertaken to describe, predict, explain, and change abnormal patterns of functioning (Comer, 2018). In other words, abnormal psychology can be defined as the study of mental disorders or illnesses, their symptoms, why is it that they occur, how they are maintained and the effects they have on a person’s life. Abnormal functioning is considered to be deviant, distressful, dysfunctional, and dangerous. Today, several models are used to explain and treat abnormal functioning. Each model provides the assumptions, the categorization and classification, and provide the guidelines for research, observation, treatment, and education. The models also influence what researchers observe, as well as what questions they ask, the information they seek, and how they interpret this information (Comer, 2018). The models that psychologists use for abnormal psychology are general perspectives, analogies or hypothesis used to describe the nature of abnormalities in an attempt to analyze, define, and treat mental illnesses. The specific models to be discussed are biological, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic-existential, sociocultural, and the developmental psychopathy perspective. At one end of the spectrum is the biological model, which considers physical processes as the key to human behavior. In the middle are three models that focus more on the psychosocial and personal aspects of human functioning: psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic-existential. “The psychodynamic model looks at people’s unconscious internal processes and conflicts, the cognitive-behavioral model emphasizes behavior, the ways in which it is learned, and the thinking that underlines behavior, and the humanistic-existential model stresses the role of values and choices” (Comer, 2018, p. 46). At the far end of the spectrum is the sociocultural model, which looks to social and cultural forces as the keys to human 2
MODELS OF ABNORMALITY functioning. All models center around individual biological, genetic, and psychological factors that contribute to abnormal behavior, except for the sociocultural model. The sociocultural model examines the social forces that affect members of society, this model incorporates the family- social perspective and the multicultural perspective. The family-social perspective” emphasizes an individual’s family and social interactions” (Comer, 2018, p. 46)., and the multicultural perspective “emphasizes an individual’s culture and the shared beliefs, values, and history of that culture” (Comer, 2018, p. 46). The Biological Model The biological model focuses on the medical issues that underlie mental illnesses. These issues may involve physical illness, damage or lesions to the brain, or chemical imbalances.

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