Describe and Evaluate Psychological Definitions of Abnormal Behavior

Topics: Psychology, Abnormal psychology, Behavior Pages: 3 (749 words) Published: January 28, 2013
Describe and evaluate psychological definitions of abnormal behavior

According to the science of psychology one’s behavior needs to follow a certain criteria in order to be deemed “normal”. If one’s behavior does not match the criteria, their behavior is seen as undesirable and wrong (requires change). For this physiologists need to be able to view a person’s behavior and be able to tell the difference between normal and abnormal. Whilst defining the “normality” of ones behavior physiologists need to be careful to remain objective and as free of any bias as possible, furthermore their experiment to determine ones behavior needs to be repeatable and reliable. In order to do this psychologists often consults the characteristics of ideal mental health proposed by Marie Jahoda in 1958. Marie Jahoda proposed 6 different characteristics for ideal mental health after surveying different doctors and psychologists; this is the list she came up with: * Positive self esteem and a strong sense of identity

* Personal growth and development
* Ability to cope with stressful situations (integration) * Autonomy and independence
* Accurate perception of reality
* Successful mastery of the environment, particularly relationships.
Jahoda argued that if one does not meet these criteria then ones behavior can be deemed abnormal as a result of an existing problem. This in my opinion provides a strong applicable foundation for the determination of ones “normality” of behavior. However the problem with Jahoda’s ideal mental health scheme is the fact that the results obtained rely solely on the observer’s judgment, therefore presenting a inevitable bias not to mention the fact that no person can truly ever meet all of the suggested criteria. This mean that according to Jahoda every person is abnormal.

Another way to look for abnormal behavior for psychologists is to find deviation form the social norm (majority). This is done by observing...
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