Disturbed family backgrounds

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Psychology unit 4 schizophrenia
Disturbed family backgrounds
Description- double bind theory
Children who receive contradictory messages from their parents are more likely to
become schizophrenic such as a mother telling her child she loves him whilst
shouting at him. Prolonged exposure to these messages prevents the child from
developing an internally coherent construct of reality. In the long term, this leads
to symptoms such as affective flattening, delusions, hallucinations, incoherent
thinking and alogia.
Evaluation- double bind theory
Tienari- showed if children were adopted because their parents were
schizophrenic they were more likely to develop the disorder if the adopted
family were classed as disturbed.
Berger- found that schizophrenics reported a higher number of double
bind statements than non schizophrenics but this may be unreliable as
patient's recall may be affected by their schizophrenia.
Other research- isn't supportive as they found no difference in the rate
of schizophrenia between patients who gave double bind statements and
those who didn't.
Description- Expressed emotion
This idea suggests that some families are always aggressive towards each other as
they express too much emotion. This causes more stress for a schizophrenic who
might have just started to recover from the disorder. The extra stress could lead
to a relapse occurring.
Evaluation- expressed emotion
Iranian study- a study conducted in Iran found that overprotective
mothers and rejective mothers were the main cause of relapses of
schizophrenia in a child. This supports the expressed emotion theory as it
shows that higher levels of stress can cause relapses of schizophrenia.
Other research- has found that you are 4 times more likely to suffer a
relapse if your family has high levels of aggression.
Correlational- it is not clear if the stress of looking after a
schizophrenic leads to high levels of expressed emotion or if the high levels
of expressed emotion are the cause of the relapse. This is because the
research is correlational so we can't be sure of the actual cause of the


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