The Four “Ds” of Abnormal Psychology

Post your response to the following: 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 can culture determine what is considered abnormal? Cite specific examples.

The four D’s of deviance, distress, dysfunction, and danger collectively define psychological abnormality in the broadest, most agreed-upon terms (Nevid & Rathus, 2005). The first “D” is deviance and is predicated on both social norms and circumstances. What is socially acceptable plays a large part in what is determined to be deviant behavior. For instance, ice breakers are people that break the ice in Michigan during the winter and then jump in the cold water. This behavior, while probably considered bizarre and even eccentric, is not considered psychologically deviant because these people carry on socially acceptable lifestyles otherwise. Also, the circumstance matter because this is a legitimate hobby that these people prefer, rather than some spontaneous act. Furthermore, evidence of distress, the second D, has a lot to do with subjective experiences. Distress is only considered valid when the person that is suffering from the distress describes the feeling as distressful. Dysfunction is pretty straightforward, dealing with a psychological abnormality that interferes with daily functioning. Specifically, dysfunction refers to behavior that distracts people so much that they, “cannot care for themselves properly, take part in ordinary social interactions, or work productively” (Nevid & Rathus, 2005, p. 3). Lastly, the danger is when someone’s problems make them dangerous to themselves or society by way of hostile behavior, carelessness, or intentional violence.

References

Nevid, J.S., & Rathus, S.A. (2005). Psychology and the challenges of life: Adjustment in the new millennium (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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