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Life-Span Human Development  9th Edition

Life-Span Human Development (9th Edition)

Book Edition9th Edition
Author(s)Rider, Sigelman
PublisherCengage Learning
Section 16.1: What Makes Development Abnormal
Making Connections
Section 16.2: The Infant
Figure Question
Making Connections
Section 16.3: The Child
Making Connections
Section 16.4: The Adolescent
Making Connections
Section 16.5: The Adult
Making Connections
Chapter 16, Section 16.1, Checking Mastery, Exercise 1
Page 506

What are two of the three broad criteria useful in defining when a psychological disorder is present?

Here is a tip:

Behaviors that follow the social pattern and norms are labeled as normal, whereas behaviors that do not follow the norms are labeled as abnormal.


Psychology uses certain criteria to distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior, which has been divided into three aspects: 

  • Statistical deviation-It means identifying whether an individual's behavior falls in the category of abnormal or normal behavior and to what extent does the behavior differ from the norms of society. For instance, a person might be aggressive, but it does not mean that they have an antisocial personality. All aspects should be considered before checking for a particular disorder. 
  • Maladaptiveness-To decide whether a person's behavior is normal or abnormal, one should look if the behavior is interfering in the person's daily life or if it is harmful for the person or other people around them. 
  • Personal distress- This criterion measures if a person's behavior causes any personal distress that is harmful for them or could be a major cause of concern for them. 

For specific classifications, clinical psychologists also use DSM-5 criteria:


DSM Diagnostic Criteria- DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It consists of a range of very specific diagnostic criteria that are used by professionals to diagnose psychological disorders. It spans out features and symptoms for various psychological disorders, which helps in understanding the factors that underlie a disorder's symptoms.  

Verified Answer

Psychological disorders are assessed in terms of three broad criteria:

  • Statistical deviation
  • Maladaptiveness
  • Personal distress 

As these criteria are vague and it is difficult to make a clear differentiation, a more specified criterion is used. This draws a clear differentiation of each disorder and behavior. It is named as the DSM-5 [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders].

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