Describe And Evaluate Two Definitions Of Abnormality Essay

707 Words3 Pages
Describe and evaluate two definitions of abnormality [16 marks]

One definition of abnormality comes from statistical infrequency. We typically define what is seen as ‘normal’ by referring to statistical values. For example, from statistical evidence, we can be informed of things such as the average shoe size of 11-year olds, the average age of a first-time mother, and so on. As we can define what is ‘normal’ through statistics, we can also define what is abnormal. For instance, it is seen as abnormal for a first-time mother to be over the age of 40 or under the age of 20.
Another way we can define abnormality is as deviation from social norms. Social norms are created by a society and are standards of acceptable behaviour. People in that society who go against these norms are classed as abnormal. For example, one social norm of a society may be politeness, and if people are rude,
…show more content…
Over time, social norms change, for example, homosexuality used to be classified as a mental disorder. Due to the changes in what is deemed acceptable in society, we open doors to definitions based on prevailing attitudes. Szasz (1947) claimed that the concept of mental illness is a way to exclude nonconformists from the rest of society. Therefore, as social attitudes change over time and consequently aren’t concrete, deviation from social norms is not a strong enough definition of abnormality.
Another limitation of deviation from social norms is that deviance is related to context and degree. For example, someone who was wearing almost nothing in a school would be classed as abnormal, although if they were wearing the same but at a beach, nobody would think them to be abnormal. As there isn’t a clear line between abnormal deviation and harmless eccentricity, deviation from social norms cannot offer a complete definition of abnormality, as it fails to recognise the importance of context and

More about Describe And Evaluate Two Definitions Of Abnormality Essay

Open Document