No single definition of psychological abnormality has been completely accepted by the psychological community. Many of the definitions include common features, known as the four Ds. What are the four Ds? Briefly describe each one. How may culture determine what is considered abnormal? Cite specific examples.
Deviance, distress, dysfunction, and danger comprise the four D’s
commonly used in assessment.
The first of the D’s is deviance. [ When we assess behavior to determine if the behavior
is deviant in nature we essentially are examining behavior which differs from the social norm.
Different cultures will have differing standards for acceptable or normal behavior. When
assessing deviance we must
use caution and take care to identify any circumstances preceding
the onset of the behavior. For example: In our society taking human life is undoubtedly to be
viewed as deviant behavior. Should circumstances surrounding an individual who has taken
another life reveal this behavior was the result of self-defense we may change our opinion of
the level of deviance in regard to this behavior. In contrast the behavior of a serial killer would
generally be seen as very deviant due to the fact that the serial killers’ taking of life is obviously
not behavior resulting from a need to defend oneself.
The second “D” is that of distress. Here behavior is examined for the level of distress
caused to the individual. Determining levels of distress can be difficult as many people
experience little, if any, distress with mental illness. In addition, should there be distress the
individual may be unaware of his or her distress. For instance: The textbook familiarizes
the reader with Brad who is experiencing obvious signs and symptoms of distress from his
mental illness. Brad feels anxiety and a sense of dread as he struggles with the voices. Brad
is also withdrawn and he is unable to properly tend to his physical health needs as he diets in
preparation for the upcoming “invasion” he is warned of. While Brad shows obvious signs of
distress another individual with similar mental illness may not feel any “distress” accompanying
mental illness yet still exhibit abnormal behaviors, thoughts and ideas which would suggest
mental illness and need for treatment.
Dysfunction is the third “D”. ]
There are no new answers.