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Clinical Characteristics of Schizophrenia (5 marks only)

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria for the diagnosis of

1) Two or more symptoms for a significant amount of time during a one month period.
2) Symptoms include positive symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations and…

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Procedure: 50 senior psychiatrists were asked to differentiate between `bizarre' and

Findings: Interrater reliability correlations of only 0.40.

Conclusion: Suggests this diagnostic requirement is not a reliable method of
distinguishing between schizophrenic and nonschizophrenic patients.

Copeland et al (1971): Cultural Variations AO3

Procedure: 134 US psychologists and 194 British…

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Conclusion: Suggests that diagnoses of schizophrenia have low validity as
`schizophrenic' symptoms are also present in other disorders.

Predictive Validity AO2

Diagnosis of schizophrenia has low predictive validity.

Predictive validity refers to the extent to which people diagnosed with schizophrenia
have the same prognoses (outcomes).

Research suggests that:
20% of…

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Reduced function of the NMDA glutamate receptor linked to the onset of

Linked to dopamine as dopamine receptors inhibit the release of glutamate (see saw

Javitt et al (2000): See Saw Effect AO2

Procedure: Administered rats with glycine which increases the amount of glutamate
in the brain.


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Conclusion: Suggests that genetic factors play a much greater role than
environmental factors.

Reductionist AO3

Reduces schizophrenia to an imbalance of chemicals the brain and ignores other

For example, Frith proposes a cognitive explanation of schizophrenia which involves
problems with metarepresentation ­ the ability to distinguish between external

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Procedure: Meta analysis of over 100 studies that compared antipsychotics with

Findings: More than 70% of sufferers treated with antipsychotics improved in
condition after 6 weeks while less than 25% improved with placebos.

Conclusion: Suggests that antipsychotics have a beneficial medical effect despite side

Self Medication AO3


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Findings: ECT has between 6080% effectiveness against specific categories of
schizophrenia and between 20 and 30 sessions is needed in order to be this
effective, as opposed to 15 for other disorders.

Conclusion: ECT is only appropriate for some patients with specific types of


Side Effects AO2 include…

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This distancing from reality may lead to such people being labelled as schizophrenic
and then behaving so as to meet the requirements of the label (Scheff's labelling

Ulman and Krasner AO2

Findings: Staff in hospital paid more attention to patients who displayed
characteristics of the disorder.

Conclusion: Suggests that…

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Procedure: Tested the theory that positive symptoms of schizophrenia are caused by
problems of metarepresentation.

Findings: Schizophrenics struggled to identify words as ones which they had created
themselves or ones they had not seen before.

Conclusion: Supports Frith's theory that schizophrenics have difficulty distinguishing
external information (words they had read)…

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These show links between the sufferer's thoughts, actions and emotions and are
used to reduce the anxiety of patients about their `bizarre' symptoms.

Trower et al (2004): AO2

Procedure: Controlled trial of CBT

Findings: The therapy did not reduce the intensity of hallucinations but did make
them seem less threatening.…


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