Psychopathology Conceptions Of Psychopathology Help "To Delineate Research Paper

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Psychology Type: Research Paper Paper: #52111649 Related Topics: Anxiety, Sexism, Anxiety Disorder, Labeling Theory
Excerpt from Research Paper :


Conceptions of psychopathology help "to delineate which human experiences are considered psychopathological and which are not," (Maddux, Gosselin & Winstead, 2008, p. 3). One conception of psychopathology is that deviation from the norm measured statistically is a valid means by which to label a behavior, condition, or person as psychopathological. This conception is flawed in that a great number of behaviors, conditions, and people deviate from the norm but should not be considered deviant or abnormal. However, this concept has the benefit of being measurable, which many scientists like. Another conception of psychopathology is whether a behavior or condition is functional or dysfunctional. This concept highlights the difference between a functioning alcoholic who has no ill effects at work or home, and the dysfunctional alcoholic who is abusive and cannot keep a job. The concept of harmful dysfunction has also been suggested, as it refers only to cases in which the person's behavior needs to be harmful to self or other to be deemed psychopathological. The functional concept is related to the concept of distress and disability, in which the condition does not necessarily impact one's ability to function but it causes great internal strife and psychological suffering. Both the functional and distress-related concepts have the benefit of refusing to label people and instead attending to the person's basic quality of


The problem with the distress concept, though, is that the person might not be aware that they are dysfunctional as in the case of the classic sociopath.

3. Cultural psychopathology "requires a framework that incorporates culture in multifaceted ways," (Maddux, Gosselin & Winstead, 2008, p. 60). Using this approach, issues like gender, class, power, and poverty can be incorporated into how to define and approach psychopathology. It is in many ways impossible to make accurate psychological diagnoses without taking cultural and other variables into account. This is why the cultural approach to psychopathology is valuable. Especially because psychopathology can be based on the concept that deviance is related to social norms, it becomes necessary to contextualize all behavior in terms of the social norms of the individual and not of the therapist, clinician, or especially the DSM. Not all cultural values or norms are themselves ethical, and many cultural norms are dysfunctional, deviant, and pathological. Therefore, a person ascribing to social norms approving of sexism or genital mutilation would not be psychopathological in the sense of…

Sources Used in Documents:


Maddux, James E.; Gosselin, Jennifer T.; Winstead, Barbara A. (2008). Conceptions of psychopathology: A social constructionist perspective. Foundations for a contemporary understanding (2nd ed.)., (pp. 3-18). New York, NY, U.S.: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, x, 457 pp.

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