Author Pamilla Ramsden presents a thorough understanding of abnormal psychology for undergraduate students with a focus on the integration of psychology, biology and health. Understanding Abnormal Psychology: Clinical and Biological Perspectives goes beyond a descriptive overview of clinical disorders to provide a critical appreciation of the multifaceted aspects of mental illness. Each disorder is clearly and succinctly explained with the support of case studies. These examples are then used to introduce students to the debates surrounding current research, the biology of abnormal disorders and standards of treatment. The bridge between the biological elements of brain functioning and the psychological mechanisms that are responsible for coping and adjustment is thoroughly explored. This valuable consideration of the range of elements involved in the diagnosis and treatment of clinical disorders gives students a broad and critical understanding of this complex and fascinating field.

Defining Abnormal Behaviour

Defining abnormal behaviour

Learning aims

At the end of this chapter you should:

  • Understand the complexity in distinguishing between abnormal and normal behaviour
  • Understand the various definitions of abnormal behaviour
  • Be familiar with the differences between deviance and dysfunction
  • Comprehend the complexities of legal definitions and insanity.


Case Study

Matt is a 42-year-old construction worker. He has been married for 20 years, has two nearly grown children, served four years in the military and has been employed at the same construction company since he left military service. He is described as steady and reliable. Yet, there is one thing that doesn't seem quite right; he carries small brass bells with him wherever he goes. He has carried these bells since he was a child and will tell people ...

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