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Chapter 14

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Pocatello, Idaho, Abnormal Psychology, Mental Disorder

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Ashley Waggoner Denton

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Thursday, November 30, 2017
Psychology: Chapter 14
14.1 What is Abnormal?
-Abnormal psychology : study of psychological disorders
-What is normal and abnormal? —> subjective terms // depend on context of situation
-Society is one of the biggest influencers of our view of what is normal or abnormal.
-Pocatello, Idaho law: “A person may not be seen in public without a smile on their
Basically states that it is abnormal to frown
Not true as one would now smile when they see a dead bird on the street <—ex
-Normal —> positive term
-Abnormal —> negative term
14.1.1 What is a Psychological Disorder?
-Psychological disorders cause significant impairment in an individual’s life
keep people from doing the things they need to do and want to do
-Signs and symptoms of a psychological disorder are assessed by mental health
professionals to determine abnormal behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.
-This is done by using the 4 D’s
-Deviance: thoughts, and feelings that are not in line with generally accepted
Measured against statistical standards or cultural views.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017
-Statistically deviant behaviors occur infrequently among members of the
-Culturally deviant behaviors go against societal standards
-ex: underage drinking is a deviant behavior —> more than 10% of annual alcohol
consumption —> pretty common occurrence – not statistically deviant.
-Distress: behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that are upsetting and cause pain,
suffering, and/or sorrow
-Dysfunctional behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are disruptive to one’s regular routine
or interfere with day-to-day functioning.
-Dangerous behaviors, thoughts, and feelings may lead to harm or injury to self or
-Defining factor of psychological disorders is that they tend to be consistent over a
span of time
-Mental health professionals often rely on clinical judgment (decision-making based on
professional experience) when assessing psychological disorders
14.1.2 Labels: Not to be Taken Lightly
-Pros of labeling:
Diagnostic label may provide an explanation for abnormal behaviors, thoughts, and
feelings being experienced —> reassuring and can empowering individual to find
Diagnostic labels provide a common language for clinicians, researchers, and
insurance companies to communicate effectively about psychological disorders
Labels are an efficient means of tracking the rates of psychological disorders and
utilization of services.
-Data is vital for ensuring adequate access and availability of mental health
services for everyone who needs them.
-Cons of labeling:
Words like “crazy,” “psycho,” or “retard” can be hurtful and counterproductive

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Thursday, November 30, 2017
Used to excuse unacceptable behaviors and can lead to lowered expectations of
an individual’s functioning.
Labels are sticky —> may have a long-lasting impact on self-image and other’s
perceptions of the individual.
14.1.3 Stigma
-Stigma: disapproval, poor treatment, discrimination, or isolation due to being different
-Psychological disorders are frequently stigmatized, and internalization of these
negative perceptions can lead to shame, embarrassment, and distress.
Prevailing view was that psychological disorders were caused by witchcraft or
demonic possession.
Relating these conditions to morality and spirituality lent a considerable sense of
shame to these disorders, and individuals with mental illness were often punished
as criminals.
-Trepanation, a surgical procedure in which a hole was drilled into the human skull to
release evil spirits, was practiced for thousands of years
-Movement for negative eugenics: proposed sterilization of individuals considered to
be mentally inferior.
-19th century, a schoolteacher and author named Dorothea Dix advocated for more
humane treatment of the insane
States began to fund specialized institutions (asylums) to house and treat
individuals with psychological disorders.
Institutions quickly reached and exceeded their capacity soon after opening
Once in asylum patients were treated inhumanly —> shock therapy, hot/cold water
submersion, chained to walls, beating
Once in there was little hope of getting out
-1950s medication to cure psychological disorders was introduced
Prompted reform in the treatment of psychological disorders called
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