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Psy 410 Week 2 - Defining Abnormality Team paper

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Defining Abnormality
TEAM B
University of Phoenix
PSY 410
Facilitator: Maria Neely, MA, M.Ed
June 27, 2011
Defining Abnormality 1

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Defining Abnormality
Differentiating between normal and abnormal behaviors can be challenging to say the least.
Even individuals trained professionally to diagnose those suffering from abnormal behaviors
need to go through a laundry list of symptoms before coming to a conclusion and treatment plan.
Several factors can contribute to behaviors in general, and most of those factors can be the
culprits of abnormal behaviors. Factors can range from age and gender to culture and situational
contexts. When considering the age of an individual, professionals have their work cut out for
them, anyone from any age group can suffer from abnormal behaviors, this makes it difficult to
diagnose. Malfunctions in the body can also contribute to abnormal behaviors, especially in
regard to the human brain. One also has to take into consideration an individual’s cultural
background. Certain cultures have what some would consider odd or “abnormal” customs. Even
with each of these considerations taken into account, mind, body, culture, and situational context,
trying to determine if an individual is showing normal or abnormal behaviors can still be
challenging.
Mind and Body
The relationship between mind and body works as a challenge in defining and classifying
normal and abnormal psychology. The mind, and the body are “fully interconnected and
interdependent” with each other (Hansell & Damour, 2008). The brain is the location where the
chemistry takes place and in return making an individual express what he or she are experiencing
throughout the body. To understand one’s behavior, the connection between the body, and the
mind must always be taken into account to consider whether the behavior is normal or abnormal.
Cognition and behavior is like cause and effect in the abnormal psychology; the body is the
mirror reflection of what goes on in the mind. The mind and body create a range of disposition
Defining Abnormality 2

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and dysfunctions in abnormal psychology (Meissner, 2007). The more complicated the nervous
system is, the more complicated and individuals behavior could be, which could potentially
cause abnormal behavior. The way we act, speak, our opinions and ideas all affect the way we
behave.
Age
Abnormal behaviors can be expressed or shown at any time in an individual’s life, there are
no specific ages in which abnormal behaviors are experienced. There is a different branch of
abnormal psychology for each specific age group, because of the range that one can experience
abnormal behaviors. Defining abnormal behavior in children may be more difficult than it is in
adults at times. Sigmund Freud argued that most of abnormal behavior is genetic and originates
in childhood (Muris, 2006). Many other scientists believe that if children are exposed to high
levels stress and have a difficult life growing up, may be more likely to develop disorders and
experience abnormal behavior. Freud also believed that abnormal psychology in children is
related to family and parenting practices. He believed that anxiety disorders in teenagers are
practically linked when the child’s parents are controlling and depression is linked with parents’
low care toward their children (Muris, 2006). Most of depression and anxiety disorder occur
later in life, mostly during the teenage years and up until mid-life years. People at different ages,
express their behavior in different ways. Adults can express their feelings verbally, while
children cry and through tantrums to express their behavior. Most of the disorder may occur at
any age, for instance separation anxiety disorder occurs early in childhood when children fear
their parents abandoning them (Hansell & Damour, 2008). With each disorder, different age
groups react in a variety of ways. Adults become angry, distant, unmotivated while children may
complain they are ill, distance themselves from others, play alone, stay in their room, etc.
Defining Abnormality 3

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