The Sociocultural Model and Abnormal Functioning

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Social Roles and Labeling: Impact on Abnormal Functioning

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:07 Abnormal Psychology
  • 1:06 Sociocultural Approach
  • 1:25 Society's Pressures
  • 2:05 Cultural Rules & Expectations
  • 3:33 Treatments
  • 4:40 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

There are many theories on what causes psychological issues. In this lesson, we'll explore the sociocultural model of abnormality, including what it is, what some key components of the theory are, and how sociocultural theorists treat abnormality.

Abnormal Psychology

Things are going really well for Richard. As a leader in his field, he has recognition and gets praise regularly. His job is secure, and he is able to map out the career that he really wants. But, there's a problem, Richard has become more and more anxious recently.

He finds it difficult to breathe sometimes and feels like everyone is watching him. Sometimes people approach him at restaurants to compliment him on his work. This has made him feel stressed out whenever he goes out to eat. He has to fight off panic attacks more and more.

Richard is struggling with anxiety disorder, a type of abnormality. His condition would therefore fall under the umbrella of abnormal psychology, which is the study of people who have abnormal thoughts, behaviors and emotions.

There are many ways to look at abnormal psychology and conditions like Richard's. One way to view Richard's problem and other abnormalities is called the sociocultural approach. The sociocultural approach to abnormal psychology examines the impact of society and culture on the psychological health of people.

The Sociocultural Approach

There are many aspects to society and culture that can play a role in people's behaviors, thoughts and feelings. Let's look at a few key ideas in the sociocultural approach to psychology.

Society's Pressures

Many people feel the need to live up to what society considers successful. This can mean many things, including making lots of money, becoming famous and even changing aspects of their personalities to fit what society believes is good.

All of these pressures can lead to stress, anxiety and depression, as well as other mental disorders. For example, Richard is doing pretty well by society's standards. However, perhaps his anxiety stems from a fear that he will not live up to society's expectations. Perhaps he feels pressure to become even more accomplished than he already is.

Cultural Rules

Every culture has its own set of rules about what is acceptable and what isn't. In the United States, throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of a public space is not considered to be good form for adults. Other cultural rules might have to do with what religion you follow, what values shape your behavior and how independent you are.

Remember Richard? Maybe part of his anxiety comes from the cultural rules that dictate how someone in his position should act. Remember that when he's in a public place, like a restaurant, he has to fight off panic attacks. This might be because he worries that people will recognize him and notice if he does something wrong, like gets spinach caught in his teeth.

Expectations about Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation

Your race and gender dictate what 'normal' behavior is, and some people who don't conform to these expectations are ridiculed or even shunned by society. Some stay-at-home dads find that people don't understand why they aren't 'providing' for their families, and some racial minorities face discrimination that can take a large toll on their lives and mental health.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support