Abnormal Psychology Needs a Sociocultural Model
This paper reviews the concept of abnormal behavior and comments on the need to evaluate and treat this behavior within a cultural context.
The author states that behavioral and scientific abnormal psychology models do not apply in our modern, multicultural society. The paper reviews, in detail, throughout history, the definitions and theoretical interpretations of abnormal behavior. The author believes that sociocultural psychology, which takes into account an individual’s society, family, and culture, offers a more comprehensive view of abnormal psychology. She states that the relative lack of ethnographic data on specifically defined cultural groups is a problem especially when working within immigrant communities.
The ancient Greeks were revolutionary in this regard. In the fourth century B.C.E., Hippocrates believed that some kind of physical malady was responsible for mental disorders. In fact, the father of modern medicine may be the first person to attribute mental illness to biological causes. Even with his primitive understanding of the human body and attribution of mental illness to the humors, Hippocrates recognized the importance of diet, stress, and heredity on mental illness. Hippocrates even described disorders we catalog in the DSM today: depression, paranoia, Alzheimer’s, and alcoholism. Steering away from superstitious, supernatural explanations of abnormal behavior was an immense step forward in the treatment of those who suffered with mental illness.
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