Classification and Diagnosis of Psychological Abnormality

Classification and Diagnosis of Psychological Abnormality

Classification and Diagnosis of Psychological Abnormality

Classification and Diagnosis of Psychological Abnormality

Synopsis

Psychologists have attempted to define psychological abnormality in a number of ways including statistical infrequency and deviation from social norms. Susan Cave discusses and compares some of the attempts made and examines their limitations.

Excerpt

This book aims to draw attention to some of the controversial issues surrounding the way that we, as a society, deal with unusual behaviour. The assumptions that there are spontaneously arising problems, which would be seen as problematic universally, can be challenged on the basis of the material presented in this book. Variation in response at different points in time, in different cultures, and to different individuals within a culture, have all been acknowledged for a long time now. The basis of these differences needs to be explored thoroughly, as a result of which they can either be ironed out or incorporated into practice in a rational way, as appropriate.

The book begins by looking at how mental disorder has been defined, and at the different models (or approaches) to dealing with it. Chapter 2 is devoted to a description of the classification systems in current use, the categories they use and the assessment tools used in diagnosis. These are then evaluated in terms of reliability and validity, and the practical and ethical issues involved in their use. Chapters 3 and 4 take up the issues of variation over time and across cultures by looking at and evaluating research into multiple personality disorder and culture-bound syndromes. Whether or not these phenomena are genuine is discussed. Chapter 5 focuses on conclusions and implications for practice in this field. In Chapter 6 there is a selection of summarised key papers and sample student essays, complete with examiner's comments.

Definitions of terms given in bold type can be found in the glossary.

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