Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology

Historical Perspectives of Abnormal Psychology By: September 24th, 2012 Psy. 410 Times have changed from what our grandparents knew and evolution is part of it. However, when looking at all the changes that we have seen in this world, how many of them were normal and how many were abnormal? Were they abnormal to some and normal to others? Or is there a particular age group that its normal or abnormal to? We are going to take a look and see if we can dig deeper in understanding normalcy and abnormalities. Abnormal Psychology To understand the origins of abnormal psychology you must first understand what it is.
There are six main core concepts to understanding abnormal psychology. Abnormal psychology is so complex in that we wonder what causes a mental illness or abnormal psychology while we wonder about feelings of being down and where they come from as well. Because there is so many questions in this particular field it is what makes it fascinating. With abnormal psychology there are six major concepts in classifying and defining it as abnormal. ( Hansell & Demour, 2008) Concepts The first concept in defining abnormal psychology is to define and understand abnormality.
You must first understand circumstances that cause or surround any behavior to allow you to understand whether the behavior is normal or abnormal. The next concept examines the continuum between normal and abnormal behavior. ( Hansell & Demour, 2008) This means understanding the context that the actual abnormal behavior occurs to allow us to understand it as well as explain it. Cultural and historical relativism is the third concept in defining and classify abnormality. Demographic context influence abnormal behavior and include things such as class, age, culture and gender. Hansell & Demour, 2008) Advantages and limitations of diagnosis is the fourth concept is the limitations and advantage of diagnosis. The fifth examines the principle of multiple causality. ( Hansell & Demour, 2008) and finally the connection between the body and the mind is the sixth concept of abnormal psychology. Lets take a step back now and examine some of these a little farther. Lets begin with examining the continuum between abnormal and normal psychology. Continuum Without looking at the continuum we can not define whether or not the behavior is known as normal or abnormal.

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The continuum examines the highlights of attitude of empathy toward those struggling with abnormal behavior. The continuum shows humanity among people. It also shows that people show and display concern with unfairness against them. ( Hansell & Demour, 2008) This makes it difficult for clinicians to find the fine line that exists between normal and abnormal behavior. The allows the scientific research to be more challenging as well as the treatment as well. Cultural and Relativism Things change through out time that can affect what is seen as abnormal.
For example, seeing someone naked on public television 50 years ago was not normal but abnormal. Today, in 2012, seeing someone naked on public television is thought to be relatively normal. Along with social changes there is also cultural change. This is just one of the many changes that has happened even in the last 30 years. The changes are very apparent to older generations making this abnormal for them while the younger generation that is experiencing these changes but its all they know, this is considered normal to them. Yet its definition is all in interpretation.
Biological Perspectives Toward abnormal psychology biological perspectives plays a huge role in mental disorders. Many illnesses, injuries, as well as defects may cause emotional symptoms. (Hansell & Demour, 2008) Physical structures and biochemical functions in the body are a huge contributor to abnormal psychology. Functions and structure of the brain is looked at by researchers in abnormal psychology. Some of the many things that have been shown to be a factor in mental disorders include the central nervous system, the endocrine system, the peripheral nervous system, as well as genetics. Hansell & Demour, 2008) Sociocultural Perspectives The Cultural and historical relativism is part of the sociocultural prespective. Because every society has different ideas of normalcy and abnormalities it is hard to define or begin to define abnormality. Learning is what sociocultural theorists believed to be part of the contributor to mental disorders. ( Hansell & Demour, 2008) the stresses in social and cultural roles include things such as culture, gender, social class, and ethnicity.
Socioeconomic status (SES), gender and ethnicity is what many theorists focus mainly on. Many times in life we evaluate what is normal and what is abnormal. Something in my life that may be normal to me might be completely abnormal to someone else. Interpretation plays a huge role and while definitions behind normal and abnormal are not clear or found interpretation is always part of understanding. References: Hansell, J. & Damour, L. (2008). Abnormal psychology (2nd ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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