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Ch.1 What is Abnormal Behaviour? This set of notes includes: What is abnormal behaviour? Defining Abnormal Behaviour The Frequency and Burden of Mental Disorders Historical Perspectives (from the roman era till present)

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Kathy Foxall

1Abnormal Behaviourdescribe explain predict and control behaviours considered strange or unusualWhat is abnormal behaviourmany ways of defining abnormalitypsychodiagnosisan attempt to describe assess and systematically draw inferences about an individuals psychological disordera label may therefore be too generalit may describe something other than a clients specific behavioursa label describes only a current condition rather than a past or changing circumstance to explain abnormal behaviour the psychologist must identify its causes anddetermine how they led to the described behaviourPredicting Abnormal Behaviourif a therapist can correctly identify the source of a clients difficulty he or she should be able to predict the kinds of problems the client will face enduring therapy and the symptoms the client will displayresearch shows that mental health professionals do a poor job of predicting dangerousness they tend to greatly overpredict violenceControlling Abnormal Behaviourthe treatment for abnormal behaviour generally follows from its explanationsDefining Abnormal BehaviourConceptual Definitionsdeviations from what is considered normal or most prevalent in a sociocultural contextStatistical Deviationdeviation from the usualViolation of Normsnormalbehaviours that occur most frequently in the general populationabnormality behaviours that are very different form the averageExamples what is normal or acceptable in one setting or time may be unacceptable in othersome common statistically frequent features are undesirable but may be considered normaleg anxiety
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