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Study Notes

Introduction to ​Psychopathology

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Psychopathology is the study of psychological disorders.

However, one issue with psychological disorders, is how do we identify when someone is psychologically unwell?

Or, how does their behaviour differ from what is considered ‘normal’ and when is a person classified as ‘abnormal’?

Consequently, psychologists and health professionals have put forward different definitions of abnormality, in an attempt to develop our understanding of abnormal behaviour.

There are four key definitions:

  1. Deviation from social norms
  2. Failure to function adequately
  3. Statistical infrequency
  4. Deviation from ideal mental health

For each of these definitions AS Psychology students are required to outline the definition, provide an example and evaluate the effectiveness of this definition, when trying to define abnormal behaviour.

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