Psychopathology is the study of mental illness or disorders. Abnormal psychology is the study of understanding the nature, causes, and treatments of mental illness. This paper will discuss Psychopathology, give an overview of how culture is a factor determining the expression of psychopathology. Next the causes of psychopathology using the biopsychosocial models will be discuss and lastly, society’s perception of psychopathology overtime will be evaluated(Butcher, Mineka, Hooley, 2013).
Culture & Psychopathology
Culture can be defined as a way of life for a particular group of people. Every culture has its own set of rules and in some cases these rules are actual laws. In every culture there are shared values, beliefs, and behaviors that are acceptable because they are considered normal amongst everyone in that culture(Butcher, Mineka, Hooley, 2013). For example, in the United States it is customary for most children to own their own celluar phone, whereas a person from another country may think it is abnormal that a child as young as seven year old has a celluar phone. People set standards and norms based on what they are taught to follow growing up. Although most social rules are arbitrary, when an individual does not abide by the standards set, their cultural group deems that individual as behaving abnormally.
There are behaviors that may apepar to be abnormal to one culture, but may accepted in another culture (Butcher et al., 2012). Additionally, there are disorders that are particular to a culture, based on the things that society has deem normal (Butcher et al., 2013). Studies have suggested that some culture-specific disorders are a “culturally determined symptom” associated with other disorders (Balhara, 2011, para 14). This idea seems to be supported by Butcher et al. (2013), who mentioned that one’s culture can influence the presentation of a person’s disorder. Culture and Psychopathology go hand and hand because culture is what deciphers what is considered normal or abnormal. However, there are categories of psychopathology that are particular to certain cultures and are found only in particular areas of the world.
Causes of Psychopathology
When determining the cause of abnormal behavior one must differentiate between necessary, sufficient, and contributory causal factors. The three causal factors are necessary, sufficient, and contributory causes. The necessary cause is “if disorder Y occurs, then cause X must have preceded it.” The sufficient cause is “if cause X occurs, then disorder Y will also occur.” The contributory cause is If X occurs, then the probability of disorder Y increases(Butcher, Mineka, Hooley, 2013).
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Balhara, Y. P. S. (2011). Culture-bound syndrome: Has it found its right niche? Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine,33(2), 210-215. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.92055. Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S. & Hooley, J. M. (2013) Abnormal psychology (15th ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Guarnaccia, P. & Pincay, I. M. (n.d.). Culture-specific diagnoses and their relationship to mood disorders. Retrieved from http://www.nrchmh.org/ResourcesDirectService/Culture-Specific%20Diagnoses%20and%20Their%20Relationship%20to%20Mood%20Disorders.pdf Rana, D. K., & Sharma, N. (2013). Culture and psychopathology. Asia-Pacific Journal of Social Sciences, 5(1), 121-134. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1516054490?accountid=458.
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