Abnormal Psychology: An Integrated Approach

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Human beings exhibit forms of behavior that are unique from that of animals and other living things. This is the key distinction between them and related primates like apes, chimpanzees, and monkeys. Some people display behavior that does not conform to society’s norms. As a result, society avoids all people who show this abnormal behavior (Halgin 2009). According to the case study of Mr. Jim’s behavior, it is without a doubt that he is antisocial and thus gets frequent scorn from other people.

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According to psychologists, there is no single definition of abnormal behavior; therefore, leading to controversies about the proper definition of this behavior (Barlow 2011). On the other hand, one clear fact is that abnormal behavior is one that violates societal norms and is against human expectations. Even though an individual must behave contrary to society’s expectations to be termed abnormal, there is no clear definition of mental illness and abnormalities. The American Psychiatric Association uses the DSM-IV System to diagnose and group human beings into various normal and abnormal categories (Alloy 2004). The use of the DSM-IV System and elements is critical in analyzing Mr. Jim’s behavior. Psychologists argue that an abnormal person is one that shows a significant statistical divergence from the norms.

Even though society consists of a significant percentage of people exhibiting various behavior patterns, most people belong to the middle class and have similar traits. As a result, people belonging to extreme categories are abnormal. Even though Mr. Jim is 48 years old and ought to have married, he has never given marriage a thought and has no interest in intimate relationships. His age is out of the marriage age bracket and has no signs of having a family. Most people marry at the age of

between 24 and 38 years. However, his age is nearing early fifties, yet there are no prospects that he will marry in the near future. For that reason, his age and singleness are an abnormal occurrence since they are way beyond the society’s expectations.

Moreover, an abnormal person shows various deviations from social norms. The society expects people to live together as brothers and sisters (Gorenstein 2011). On the other hand, Mr. Jim is an introvert. He is not interested in any relationship with neighbors and family members. He attends essential family gatherings, which happen occasionally. His colleagues and neighbors seldom share their experiences with him.

This is a clear picture of an abnormal behavior since he does not value human relationships according to the society’s expectations. He has a reliable career and a well-paid job but still does not show any interest in associating with people. Mr. Jim lives in a small house and has computer games and books as his pass time activities.

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In addition, psychologists claim that an abnormal person exhibits maladaptive behavior that compensates their abnormalities (Greene 2007). Mr. Jim, despite his age, still lives in a one-bedroom house. Instead of living in a spacious house where friends and relatives would feel welcome, he cages his life in this tiny apartment to avoid interacting with people. In addition, he has no time for friends and close family members even though they live in the same city. As a result, he finds his association with other people a waste of time and prefers playing computer games and reading.

This behavior enables people to hide behind other activities to avoid confronting their real lives (Erik 2007). Mr. Jim does not find value in interacting with his neighbors, colleagues or family members and thus decides to play computer games as a pass time activity instead of visiting friends and relatives.

Lastly, an abnormal person has personal distress and depressions that are way beyond the normal. Therefore, the person becomes unpredictable and unreliable by other people in the society (Seligman 2011). This makes him express his opinions in an awkward way and interferes with his conversations with other people. In addition, he is unusually slow in reading nonverbal cues like ending a conversation and, even though he knows people dislike his behavior, he ignores their dissatisfaction.

According to the DSM-IV definitions of mental disorders, Mr. Jim is an abnormal person since he portrays abnormal behavior. This is due to his deviations from the norm that defines stable mental health. He is an introvert and derives joy in keeping and playing computer games and not interacting with people. On the other hand, this definition cannot be applied in all situations. This is due to the differences that exist in human beings in terms of levels of education, exposure, experience, environment, age and preferences (Comer 2009). These factors determine individuals’ mental positions and thus the DSM-IV definitions become irrelevant when applied. However, the DSM-IV system helps psychiatrists diagnose people suffering from mental disorders and treat them early.

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Cases of mental disorder abound in the society in varying degrees. For that reason, people should seek early medical attention immediately when they detect an abnormal change in their behavior or that of their relatives.


Alloy, L. B. (2004). Abnormal Psychology: Current Perspectives. New York: McGraw Hill.

Barlow, D. H. (2011). Abnormal Psychology: An Integrated Approach. California: Wadsworth Publishing.

Comer, R. J. (2009). Abnormal Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.

Erik, R. (2007). Counseling Treatment for Children and Adolescents with DSM-IV-TR Disorders. New Jersey: Pearson.

Gorenstein, E. E. (2011). Case Studies in Abnormal Psychology. New York: Worth Publishers.

Greene, B. (2007). Abnormal Psychology in a Changing World. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Halgin, R. (2009). Abnormal Psychology. New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education.

Seligman, L. (2011). Selecting Effective Treatments: A Comprehensive, Systematic Guide to Treating Mental Disorders. New York: Wiley.

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PsychologyWriting. "Abnormal Psychology: An Integrated Approach." January 29, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/abnormal-psychology-an-integrated-approach/.