chapter  5
25 Pages

Mental Disorder as Deviant Social Behavior

Thus, the reason that the statistical definition of deviance is inadequate for understanding deviant behavior is that it leaves out social judgments about what is right and proper according to a prevailing social norm. Norms are expectations of behavior shared by people in specific groups or certain social settings, or they may be more general expectations of behavior common to a wide variety of social situations. A norm has the effect of acting as an ideal standard intended to guide, regulate, or control behavior in a fashion that is acceptable to those concerned. Norms, accordingly, influence how people behave and do so in a manner that goes beyond a mere statistical average of personal characteristics.