Michael Matthews November 3, 2011
Psychology Lecture 14
Mental illness- never a big part of health concerns
2.6% of Canadians are disturbed psychologically enough to require some form of intervention.
Statistical approach (distribution approach). Can handle it but it is not adequate. Equality of extremes is
number one. It can only theoretically describe one trait at a time. Syndrome is a collection of symptoms.
Subjective discomfort (Abnormal) - if someone comes to me and says I am anxious and depressed, this is
what you would say they are. Reaction to the problem- some just let it wash all over you, other will work
out or see a movie. We all respond to these difficulties very differently. Secondly this also ignores the social
consequences of a disorder. Often has a transitory state, short lived thing. Question is always the accuracy
with which one describes his or her feelings.
Abnormality is also seen as social non-conformity by some. Criminals are social non-conformity, however
many people behind bars are not mentally disturbed. However a significant amount of people behind bars
do have a diagnosable mental illness. Cultural relativity, what is abnormal in one culture may be very
normal in another culture. Maybe social standards are undesirable, E.g. social conformity to fascism.
Cultural innovators- people who make the new norms. Conformal Neurotic- people who conform to every
aspect of social norms and doesn’t step out of their comfort zones.
Legal Criteria- should we apply legal criteria to the question of morality? What is legal is often very dry
and cut. Three areas where legal criteria are applied: competency hearings, criminal responsibility (does the
criminal appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her actions), commitment to psychiatric institution.
Professional definition to abnormality- exposure to a criminal psychologist or psychiatrist. Assumes an
organic cause, something that can be diagnosed, and also can be fixed. Not all things have an organic cause.
Medicalization of deviance (deviance from the norm) –always an appropriate drug for the abnormal
behaviour. Prozac and Prolof becoming the heal all drug.
Good place to start is in the tissue to