Psychology 2042A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Speech Disorder, Relational Aggression, Psychopathology

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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
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
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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
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
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
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