Assessment Strategies

  • Arthur N. Wiens
  • James E. Bryan


It is likely that all of the authors who prepared chapters for this volume in advanced abnormal psychology, and all of its readers, will, upon reflection, realize that they have assumed some definition of normality and abnormality in human behavior. For example, some may have assumed that normality equates with “health” and that behavior is assumed to be within normal limits when no manifest psycho-pathology is evident. Others may have in mind an “ideal” of optimal functioning. Still others, including many psychologists, may think of normality in terms of “average” levels of functioning and consider both very low and very high scores on various assessment procedures as deviant. This approach to describing abnormality is based on the mathematical principle of the bell-shaped curve and describes variability of behavior within the context of the total group, and not within the context of one individual. We will leave it to other chapter authors to elucidate this definitional issue of normality and abnormality. We did want to call the reader’s attention to the fact that there may be few absolute definitions of abnormality and few clear-cut boundaries between normal and abnormal.


Personality Disorder Assessment Strategy Brief Psychiatric Rate Scale Psychological Assessment Abnormal Psychology 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur N. Wiens
    • 1
  • James E. Bryan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical PsychologyOregon Health Sciences UniversityPortlandUSA

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