Aetiologies of Schizophrenia


Mark Scheme


·         Truly biological explanations (genetic, neurotransmitters, structural abnormalities)

·         Psychological explanations

·         Social explanations (double bind, expressed emotion ect.0


·         Evidence relating to specific explanations

·         Use of further evidence

·         Diathesis stress model

·         Historical and cultural evaluative issues

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Genetic Factors

·         Joseph (2004) MZ 40.4% concordance rates in depression, 7.4% in DZ, suggesting a partially genetic basis

·         Tienari et al (2000) adopted children with schizophrenic mothers are more likely to develop schizophrenia (is this due to genetics are emotionally flat mothers?)

·         Gottesman and Reilly (2003) Diathesis – stress model – genes predispose the disorder, develops after stressor

·         Due to common rearing practices not genes

·         When blind tests are conducted concordance rates are lower

·         May be due to an identity crisis for MZ twins, means experiences are similar – Joseph (2004)

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Cognitive Approach

·         Biological factors cause sensory disturbances

·         Further features of the disorder are an attempt to understand the biological disturbances

·         When schizophrenic people try to check their symptoms with others, they become paranoid and develop even more delusions

·         Meyer – Lindenberg et al – excess dopamine was linked to poor working memory

·         Explains specific symptoms

·         Can be proven

·         Not able to separate the effects of cognitive function and anti- psychotic medication

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Double - Bind Theory

·         Conflicting messages given to children by parents

·         Makes it hard to build a coherent view of reality – creating an emotionally flattened state

·         Bateson (1956) schizophrenic patients family are destructively ambiguous

·         Berger (1965) higher recall of double bind in schizophrenic patients

·         Mischler and Watler (1968) mothers treat schizophrenic daughters differently, being emotionally flat with them – self fulfilling prophecy

·         Recall issues in the sample 

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