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Psychopathology – Understanding Mental Ill Health

1. Abnormality

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About this Lecture


This first lecture is focused on defining abnormality and understanding what normality is in the context of mental health. To begin, Dr Stevenson uses an example to outline that some behaviours which are deemed abnormal under certain circumstances might be considered normal or expected under others. This lecture moves on to cover four key factors which can impact how we view abnormality: statistical frequency, social norms, personal distress, and distress to others.


In this course, Dr Jude Stevenson (University of Glasgow) explores concepts of mental health, starting with understanding what abnormality means. The second lecture approaches the practice of diagnostic labelling, discussing both the positives and negatives of doing this, as well as walking through two key databases used to do it officially. The third lecture is a deep dive into Rosenhan’s 1973 paper ‘On Being Sane in Insane Places’ which investigated the legitimacy of psychiatric diagnoses, with some concerning results. The fourth and final lecture takes a walk through the history of understanding mental ill health, contextualising the timeline into three primary models – the supernatural model, the medical model, and the cognitive behavioural model.


Dr Jude Stevenson is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Glasgow, with a primary focus on mental health and well-being. Dr Stevenson’s research centres around body focused repetitive behaviours and is a UK ambassador for the TLC Foundation for Body Focused Repetitive Behaviours. Some of her recent publications have been investigating obsessive-compulsive and related disorders. Dr Stevenson is responsible for teaching the first-year mental health and well-being course, as well as the level two individual differences course.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Stevenson, J. (2021, November 30). Psychopathology – Understanding Mental Ill Health - Abnormality [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Stevenson, Jude. "Psychopathology – Understanding Mental Ill Health – Abnormality." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Nov 2021,

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