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Pathological Behaviors

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Look in the textbook and use the Table 1.1 outline for the criteria of Mental Disorder and consider information presented in the module lecture. Then read about the case of Zell Kravinsky as outlined in The World Around Us feature 1.1. (p. 6-7 in the text). Post your answer the following:

1. Does Mr. Kravinsky represent pathological behavior? Justify your answer
2. Whether you think he is "mentally ill" or not, using the GAF scale on p. 133 what do you consider Mr. Kavinsky's level of functioning to be?

Abnormal Psychology (14e)
Butcher, Mineka, Hooley

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1. In this case, the activities and behaviors that are exhibited by Mr. Kravinsky do not represent pathological behavior, largely due to the fact that his philanthropic activities did not in any way interfere negatively with the ...

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The concept of abnormal used in psychological assessments has not been adequately defined; therefore its usage and meanng is often distorted.

The problem: The major problem related to this question is that psychologically, the term abnormal has not been adequately defined; and therefore its usage and meaning is often distorted. Descriptions used to define abnormality in studies of Abnormal psychology are drawn from the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR' American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2000. However, the DSM offers no operational definition for a mental disorder. Following conceptual definitions in the scientific and medical professions, DSM criteria refer to different types of psychopathology at different levels such as structural pathology, situational pathology, etc. Thus, the DSM describes a mental disorder within concepts of distress, dysfunction, disability, disadvantage, irritation, patterns, etiology and statistical deviation (p xxx). On the basis of DSM criteria, what is considered as deviating from the "norm" is related to mental phenomena and described as abnormal behavior. No assumption is provided regarding the etiology of the particular mental disorder. Finally, DSM criteria cannot be generalized to all cultures. Diagnosing patients with pathology who express different cultural, social and religious beliefs presents a distorted assessment of their personalities.

Another problem related to the concept of abnormality is its use in personality inventories. Most personality inventories refer to what is abnormal based on what is considered maladaptive behavior. Adaptive behavior refers to whether the persons exhibits behavior in which he or she can effectively cope with challenges and/ or stress. However, the degree to which one can be considered maladapated depends on several factors such as cultural and social expectations. Further, DSM criteria are based on a medical model reflected in the term pathology, which means disease.

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