Schizophrenia: psychological explanations

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  • Psychological explanations
    • Family dysfunction
      • Schizophrenogenic mother
        • Fromm-Reichmann (1948)
        • Schizophrenia causing mother, categorised by being cold, rejecting and controlling.
        • Leads to distrust that later develops into delusions
      • Double-bind theory
        • Bateson et al (1972)
        • When a child is trapped in a family where mixed signals are sent on what is wrong or right
        • When the child gets it wrong (often) they are punished with the withdrawal of love
        • Leads to seeing world as dangerous and confusing, later into delusions.
      • Expressed emoion
        • The level of emotion expressed towards the patient
        • Contains several elements
          • Verbal criticisms
          • Hostility towards sufferer
          • Emotional over involvement in their life
        • Source of stress for the patient, could cause relapse
        • Also seen as a trigger with the diathesis-stress model
    • Cognitive explanations
      • Abnormal thought processes that can be linked to the origin of schizophrenia
        • Frith et al (1992)
        • Metarepresentaion
          • ability to reflect on thoughts and actions as their own but as someone esle's
          • Explanation for auditory hallucinations
        • Central control
          • the ability to suppress automatic responses
          • Explains speech poverty
    • Evaluation
      • Support for family dysfunction
        • Read et al (2005)
          • Studied 46 cases of child abuse
          • 69% of adult women in-patients had a history of physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood (59% for men)
          • Adults with insecure attachments are also more likely to develop schizophrenia
        • Lots of evidence for a link between family dysfunction and SZ
        • Validity issue as it was reported by the schizophrenic patients where delusions may be an issue
      • Weak evidence for family based explanations
        • Lots for dysfunction but little for schizophrenogenic mother or double bind
        • Both theories are based on observation of patients and are products of their time as they as they try to assess the mother for crazy-making characteristics
          • Harrington (2012)
        • Leads to parent blaming
          • Parents are forced to bare the guilt of causing their child to suffer
      • Strong evidence for dysfunctional processing
        • Stirling et al (2006)
          • Compared 30 pateints with 18 controls using cognitive tasks like the stroop test
            • Stroop test: name the colour the word is written in not the word itself
          • Patients took twice as long to name the ink colours
        • links between symptoms and processing is clear but don't explain the origins
          • Can show proximal causes (current symptoms) not distal causes (origins)


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