When analyzing behavior, it is important to take into account multiple influences — the norms of society at the time, unique cultural traditions and behaviors, as well as the context of the situation. These considerations determine how we define abnormality. For example, if I am at the grocery store, and experience extreme paranoia that everyone there is out to hurt me, this would be considered abnormal behavior. However, if you change the context, and a person at the grocery store is running wildly down the aisles physically harming anyone they see, my fear is rational based on the situation. A few years ago, you may have seen someone wearing a face mask and considered it abnormal, but after COVID, this behavior was normalized due to the global pandemic.
Attitudes toward mental health will vary among families, cultures, and ethnicities. Cultural norms and understanding influence the nature of mental illness and shape attitudes toward mental health treatment. Understanding these unique viewpoints allows practitioners to develop more effective treatment approaches and decreases social stigma of behaviors that one may consider abnormal simply because they do not understand or take into account sociocultural influences.
In a 2- to 3-page APA formatted paper, address the following topics:
How would you define abnormal?
Using the criteria in the text, discuss how psychologists determine if a mental illness is present based on abnormal behaviors, personality traits, or cognition.
Using at least one scholarly resource, discuss a behavior, personality trait, or cognition (thought or idea) that would be considered normal because of the context of the situation or sociocultural norms but abnormal to an outsider looking in. Discuss how an individual may interpret that behavior, personality trait, cognition (thought or idea) who was not a part of the culture or unfamiliar with the context of the situation.
For example, in some Central and South American native tribes, adolescents engage in cutting behavior on their arms as a part of an initiation rite, leaving scars on their bodies. This is considered a normal and expected behavior in this culture, whereas in the United States, cutting is often seen as a symptom of a personality disorder. Discuss the behavior and the cultural or social norm or influence on categorizing or perceiving the behavior as normal or abnormal.
Another criterion that has been suggested for defining abnormality is that abnormal behavior violates the standards of society. This means that those who do not follow conventional and moral rules of society should be considered abnormal. Discuss how this suggested definition is controversial as it relates to our modern and diverse society.
Your assignment should be a 2- to 3-page expository essay, not including the title and reference pages, and should include the following elements:
Title page: Provide your name, title of assignment, course and section number, and date.
Body: Answer all the questions in complete sentences and paragraphs.
Your responses should reflect professional writing standards, using proper tone and language.
Reference page: Sources listed in APA format.
Use Arial or Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced and left-aligned.
Use standard 1″ margins on all sides.
Use APA formatting and citation style.
This assignment assesses the following Course Outcome:
PS440-1: Differentiate between normal and abnormal behavior within a diverse society.