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Psy 270 Week 1 DQs

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PSY 270 Week 1
DQ 1
The four Ds are: deviance, distress, dysfunction, danger. Deviance is anything that goes against
societal norms. Distress is something that occurs when a person’s behavior causes unnecessary
pain or stress to themselves as a result of abnormal behavior. Dysfunction is characterized by a
person’s inability to perform normal daily functions due to abnormal behavior. Danger stands
for a point in which the person’s abnormal behavior becomes dangerous to either themselves or
those around them.
Culture plays a large role in determining what is considered normal or abnormal. People who
suffer from abnormal psychological issues can come from many different cultural backgrounds,
which is why it is important to take into account the cultural influences when determining
whether or not a person’s actions or behaviors are normal or abnormal. Just because we may
find a certain behavior or action abnormal here in the U.S. doesn’t mean that it is considered
abnormal elsewhere in the world.
One example of how culture can affect the views of abnormal versus normal would be the case
of albinism in Africa. I recently saw a show which depicted the horrors of being albino in Africa.
African witch doctors will cut limbs from adults, children, and even babies with albinism
believing that these individuals hold some sort of “curing” power. They will then use the blood
or other parts of the bodies in potions and medicines, which they then sell to people. Some
followers of the witch doctors find this behavior normal because they also believe that albino
people have some sort of magical powers. I also want to note that not all Africans condone this
horrible behavior, but there are some that do. This goes to show how environment and culture
can have an effect on what one views as normal versus abnormal.
DQ 2
Deinstitutionalization was made possible by the development of effective psychotropic
medications. Deinstitutionalization consists of releasing patients who suffer from severe
psychological problems from mental health hospitals. The positive aspect of this trend is that it
has decreased the instances of overcrowding among mental health hospitals. According to

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Comer (2005) in 1955 there were approximately 600,000 patients in mental hospitals, and today
there are only about 60,000 patients in mental health hospitals. The process of
deinstitutionalization and outpatient care has significantly decreased the number of patients
within mental health hospitals.
The negative side of deinstitutionalization and outpatient care is the fact that this type of
treatment relies heavily on community involvement, which is severely lacking. Many of the
outpatients will also experience a lack of resources and support. Without the care and support
that they need they may likely end up homeless or living in shelters. It is also a possibility that
such individuals will end up in jail or prison. In order to minimize these negative aspects of
deinstitutionalization and outpatient care an effective community mental health approach needs
to be developed to provide the outpatients with the assistance that they need.
Comer, R. J. (2005). Fundamentals of abnormal psychology (4th ed.). New York: Worth.

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Excellent resource! Really helped me get the gist of things.