Normality in psychiatry
Normality as health
The first perspective is the traditional medical-psychiatric approach to health and illness. Behavior is assumed to be within normal limits when no manifesting psychopathology is present. If all behavior were to be put on a scale, normality would encompass most of the continuum, and abnormality would be the small remainder.
Normality as utopia
The second perspective conceives of normality as the harmonious and optimal blending of the diverse elements of the mental apparatus, which culminates in optimal functioning.
Normality as average
The third perspective is commonly used in normative studies of behavior and is based on the mathematical principle of the bell-shaped curve. In this approach the middle range of the curve is conceived of as normal and both extremes are conceived of as deviant.
Normality as process
The fourth perspective stresses that normal behavior is the end result of interacting systems. The normality-as process perspective stresses changes or processes, rather than a cross sectional definition of normality. (Erickson's theory).