Medical paradigms for the study of problem behaviour: a critical review

Mills, Daniel S. (2003) Medical paradigms for the study of problem behaviour: a critical review. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 81 (3). pp. 265-277. ISSN 0168-1591

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The study of animal behaviour problems is an area of increasing interest in applied ethology. As with the study of abnormal behaviour in humans, there are two broad approaches to this subject, one emphasising the role of the environment and biology of the species in shaping behaviour and other the importance of pathological processes within the individual. The latter is based on a medical model as is the tradition in human psychiatry. Blind adherence to a medical model causes serious problems when it comes to the scientific investigation of problem behaviour. These stem from the way problems are categorised, the emphasis that is frequently given to the results of drug trials and the perception that the animal is malfunctioning. This paper argues that primary emphasis needs to be given to the study of the regulation of normal behaviour using psychobiological models, which provide construct validity for the processes observed. This shifts emphasis away from specific defining signs and towards an analysis of the ultimate functional value of the behaviour seen as a problem. This approach also allows the parsimonious explanation of the effects of a range of therapeutic interventions, whose effects might otherwise be poorly predictable. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords:behavior, Animalia
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:9084
Deposited On:05 May 2013 10:09

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