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Psychology Revision Unit 5 ­ Psychopathology

Definition = Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder characterised by severe disruptions to an
individual's thoughts, emotions, speech and contact with reality

Clinical Characteristics

1. Delusions ­
Persistent ideas which are clearly untrue but are experienced as being true.
2. Hallucinations ­

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Explanations of Schizophrenia

Biological Explanations of Schizophrenia
1. Genes
There is evidence to suggest a predisposition is somehow genetically inherited. Genetic formations can
be assessed using twin, adoption and family studies.

Supporting Evidence

Twin Studies ­ Gottesman
Gottesman analysed over 40 studies and found
If one identical / MZ twin,…

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too often and transmit too many messages. This message overload may produce many of the symptoms
of schizophrenia

Supportive Evidence

Higher Dopamine Levels
It has been found through post-mortems that people diagnosed with schizophrenia have higher than
normal levels of dopamine in their system.

Amphetamines increase the amounts of…

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undergone difficult births, where their brains may have suffered a lack in oxygen. Which could
explain how the damage occurs and schizophrenia develops.

Many bran imaging studies have shown varying results
Not all patients showed differences in the size of the ventricles compared to non sufferers.
There is no…

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Psychological Explanations for Schizophrenia

1. Family Systems
Many researchers have argued that schizophrenia can result from being part of a dysfunctional family.

Supportive Evidence

The Schizophrenogenic Mother ­ Fromm Reichman
Reichman claimed that mothers who were domineering and insensitive, overprotective and
rejecting, and whose behaviour patterns were often contradictory could…

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The Diathesis-Stress Mode

The Diathesis Stress Model is probably the best way to explain schizophrenia. This theory argues that
biological factors should only be seen as causing a predisposition to the disorder, not be solely
responsible for it. Biological factors make an individual more vulnerable but it is their environment…

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Definition = Depression is an affective mood disorder, with prolonged disturbances to mood and

Clinical Characteristics
Unipolar Disorder (Major Depression) is characterised by;
Lowering of mood ­ individual feels intensely unhappy and empty
Lack of motivation, drive, determination and initiative
Negative views of themselves and the world

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Biological Explanations of Depression
1. Genetics

The medical approach argues that psychological problems have a physical cause. It argues that genes are
one of these causes. From this view people with a particular genetic makeup have a predisposition to

Supporting Evidence

Twin Studies ­ Allen
Allen looked at unipolar…

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Findings haven't been replicated. ­ This could suggest C11 doesn't actually play a role or it is part
of several genes that cause the onset of depression.

3. Biochemistry
A number of researchers have investigated the biochemical possesses that may play a role in affective
disorders. Most research has linked…

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Psychological Explanations of Depression
1. Sex Differences in Depression
According to Williams and Hargreaves women are 2-3 times more likely than men to become clinically
depressed. A number of factors have been put forward to try and account for the sex differences in
depression. These include hormonal fluctuations associated with…


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