Chapter Review

Psychological disorders are conditions characterized by abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Although challenging, it is essential for psychologists and mental health professionals to agree on what kinds of inner experiences and behaviors constitute the presence of a psychological disorder. Inner experiences and behaviors that are atypical or violate social norms could signify the presence of a disorder; however, each of these criteria alone is inadequate. Harmful dysfunction describes the view that psychological disorders result from the inability of an internal mechanism to perform its natural function. Many of the features of harmful dysfunction conceptualization have been incorporated in the American Psychological Association (APA) formal definition of psychological disorders. According to this definition, the presence of a psychological disorder is signaled by significant disturbances in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; these disturbances must reflect some kind of dysfunction (biological, psychological, or developmental), must cause significant impairment in one’s life, and must not reflect culturally expected reactions to certain life events.


Biopsychosocial Model is a perspective that attributes disturbance(s) to the complex interaction of bodily, psychological, and sociocultural factors

Cultural relativism is the idea that cultural norms and values of a society can only be understood on their own terms or in their own context.

Maladaptive is a term referring to behaviors that cause people who have them physical or emotional harm, prevent them from functioning in daily life, and/or indicate that they have lost touch with reality and/or cannot control their thoughts and behavior (also called dysfunctional).

Mental Illness is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.

Psychogenic refers to a disorder effect that originates from the brain instead of other physical organs (i.e. the cause is psychological rather than physiological).

Somatogenic refers to a disorder developing from physical/bodily origins

Stigma happens when a personal with mental illness is viewed in a negative way because of their symptoms or behaviors associated with the condition

Universal disorder refers to the incidence of a particular set of symptoms that occur across various cultures and circumstances.


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Culture and Psychology Copyright © 2020 by L D Worthy; T Lavigne; and F Romero is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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