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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 - ONLINE

5 Pages

Course Code
Psychology 2042A/B
Richard Brown

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Psych 2042A Chapter 1: Introduction Defining and Identifying Abnormality • the problem is that young people display behaviours that may or may not be considered signs of abnormality or disturbance... for instance: • noncompliance with parental rules • social withdrawal • high activity level • fear or sadness • delayed reading skills • several factors are considered in order to determine whether it is a disturbance or not • Atypical and Harmful Behaviour • some behaviour can be atypical but not harmful (i.e. very intelligent, social competence) • a disorder includes an atypical behaviour that is also harmful • APA defines disorder as a clinically significant behavioural or psychological pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with distress, impairment, or increased risk of death, pain, disability, or important loss of freedom • abnormality or psychopathology is usually viewed as a dysfunction that resides within the individual and interferes with adaptation and daily living. • on the other hand, a disorder can be viewed as an individualʼs reaction to certain circumstances or events • this view: behaviour and our society is inextricably linked together. • Developmental Standards • age is often used as an index of developmental level - relies on developmental norms (i.e. sequences of growth, rates of growth, etc) • the most frequent behavioural indicators of disorders • developmental delay • developmental regression or deterioration • extremely high or low frequency of behaviour • extremely high or low intensity of behaviour • behavioural difficulty persist over time • behaviour inappropriate to the situation • abrupt changes in behaviour • several problem behaviours • behaviour qualitatively different from normal • most of these are measuring the quantity of development (frequency and rate), other indicators measure the quality of development (responsiveness) • Culture and Ethnicity • deviance and normality are related to cultural standards • therefore, some disorders are culturally specific • anthropologist Ruth Benedict says that each society selects a few behaviours that are of value and socializes its members to act accordingly • role of cultural norms is very significant in judging deviant behaviour • ethnic and racial groups embedded within a heterogenous society may express psychopathology somewhat differently and hold beliefs and standards different from those of the dominant cultural group. • Other Standards: Gender and Situations • given someoneʼs gender and the situation they are in, developmental norms are formed and abnormality is pointed out when one deviates from the gender and situational norm •i.e. someone deviating from a situational norm is when someone is running and screaming in the library, which is considered ʻnormalʼ in a playground • The Role of Others • most often, youth or adolescent teenagers do not admit themselves into getting help • labeling a disorder is likely to occur when others become concerned - when parents worry about their childʼs social isolation or when a teacher is troubled about a childʼs inability to learn or read •this is dependent on the knowledge of the parent about child disorders, their attitudes, sensitivity, and tolerance • Changing Views of Abnormality • views of abnormality have changed over the years •women who were intelligent were seen as deviant •nail-biting was seen as deviant •masturbation was considered a sign of disturbance • views of abnormality are influenced by enhanced knowledge and modifications in theory •i.e. eating disorders are found more in Western societies How Common Are Psychological Problems? • determining the proportion of individuals who have a problem suggests the extent to which prevention, treatment, and research are needed • prevalence of psychological problems depends on several factors • definition and kind of disorder • method used to identify the problem/disorder • population examined • disorders in youth aged 4-18 years ranged from 5.4%-35.5% • APA cites that 10% of youth have a serious mental problem and another 10% having mild/moderate problems • there have been potential problems with infants as well (i.e. sleep problems, disregulation of mood and attention, difficulties establishing health attachments with their caregivers) • Danish community was studied an 16-18% showed disturbances • some say that societal change during the last few decades has resulted in an increased risk for disorders in young people • increases only occur in certain groups and with certain disorders • stress related to societal factors and lifestyle changes can increase the rate of the disorder • mental health of young people often go unrecognized in schools (66-75% of youth do not receive adequate treatment) • many of the disorders that carry the heaviest consequences in adulthood are related to mental health and often first observed in youth How are Developmental Level and Disorder Related? • chronological age is correlated with developmental age level • i.e. a speech disorder can first appear during the developmental speech stage. • with some disorders, the age of onset occurs gradually, with the worsening of symptoms and social impairment • time of onset can also vary by gender • age and onset can tell us the severity of the disorder How are Gender and Disorder Related? • males are usually more affected than females in most types of disorders • some gender differences are related to age • males are more vulnerable to neurodevelopmental disorders that occur in early life, whereas females are more vulnerable to emotional problems and eating problems more commonly found in later life • problems are usually expressed differently according to gender • men tend to exert physical aggression • females tend to engage in relational aggression (i.e. rumor spreading) • Methodological Issues, True Differences • gender differences may be accounted for our methodological practices • in the past, a bias existed
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