schizophrenia explanations: social labelling theory

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Psychopathology (schizophrenia)
Social labelling theory
Describe (AO1)
The theory states that hallucinations, delusions and bizarre behaviour cause
society to label these individuals as schizophrenic. Once a person has the label of
schizophrenia, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The discrimination this causes
increases the stress the schizophrenic will feel which can make the symptoms
Evaluate (AO2)
Scheff: evaluated 18 studies linked to the labelling theory and found that
13 had findings consistent with his theory. One of his studies was Rosenhan's
investigation, who found that the label of schizophrenia influenced the
behaviour of the nurses towards the pseudo patients. This supports the
social labelling theory because the label of being schizophrenic can lead to
discrimination making the symptoms worse.
Doesn't show that labelling causes schizophrenia; it only proves
that it makes the symptoms worse.
Kimble: disagrees with the social labelling theory as he found that the
very real and distressing symptoms of schizophrenia, such as bizarre
delusions and catatonic behaviour, were far too extreme to be caused by
just being called schizophrenic.


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