205-ch. 1 - Chapter 1 What is abnormal psychology The field...

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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 1 What is abnormal psychology? The field devoted to the scientific study of abnormal behavior to describe, predict, explain, and change abnormal patterns of functioning Although many definitions have been proposed, none is universally accepted Most definitions share some common features… “The Four Ds” Deviance – Different, extreme, unusual Distress – Unpleasant & upsetting Dysfunction – Causes interference with life Danger – Poses risk of harm Deviance from behaviors, thoughts, and emotions considered normal in a specific place and time and by specific people Judgments of deviance also depend on specific circumstances (i.e., social context, cultural norms) Stated and unstated rules for proper conduct in a given society or culture (Halloween) Examples: appropriate behavior depends of the circumstances(disasters, abuse, war, chronic pain, & terminal illness). According to many clinical guidelines, behavior must be personally distressing before it can be labeled abnormal(deviance is not enough) Not always the case: some states of distress can result in a positive frame of mind Examples: 1. running in the rain or the cold 2. accepting new challenges Abnormal behavior tends to be dysfunctional – it interferes with daily functioning (a negative family dynamic) Culture has an influence on determinations of dysfunction, as well Dysfunction alone does not necessarily indicate psychological abnormality Abnormal behavior may become dangerous to oneself or others Behavior may be careless, hostile, or confused Although cited as a feature of psychological abnormality, being dangerous is the exception rather than the rule (recently murdered physician) Even if we agree with the concept of abnormality, it is often applied inconsistently Examples: Diagnosis of alcohol problems in colleges Issue of abnormality versus eccentricity Once abnormality is determined, clinicians attempt to treat it Treatment (or therapy) is a procedure designed to change abnormal behavior into more normal behavior Despite these disagreements, most clinicians agree that large numbers of people need therapy Research indicates that therapy often is helpful...
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205-ch. 1 - Chapter 1 What is abnormal psychology The field...

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