Psychological explanations of Sz

  • Created by: imanilara
  • Created on: 10-06-16 21:04


Clear that bio factors alone cannot completely account for Sz- need to isolate other factors 

2 main types of psych exp's 

  • Psychological theories - arise from major psychological pespectives eg psychodynamic/cognitive
  • Socio - cultural factors -stress the role of social and family relationships 
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Psychodynamic exp AO1

According to Freud due to 2 reasons: 

  • regression to a pre-ego stage (id is in charge) 
  • attempts to re-establish ego control 

Individal may regress to an pre-ego stage before he/she had developed realistic understanding of the world. 
Suggested it happened in response to harsh environment, eg cold parents/traumatic event 

Saw Sz as infantile stage w some symptoms (delusions of grandeur) refelctive primitive condition and others (hallucinations) evidence of an attempt to re-establish ego control

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Another way to think about this : 

failure of PCG through unresponsive care- help infant overcome trauma, deal w emotions and distinguishing between internal + external world- child will not develop proper sense of self. 

During transitional stage of adolescence, threats to fragile sense of self likely to occur - symptoms of sz occur. 

Another psychodynamic theory=superego. superego developed due to the internalisation of parental/social rules-- cold/uncaring parents =harsh superego. Managing this requires the development of a complex mental structure (Sz) to protect the ego. 

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  • intuitive perspective- parts of psychodynamic theory make sense, eg idea that sz represents regression to a pre ego stage fits observation that children have delusions of grandeur and delusions of influence/control
  • also, idea that if person's sense of self= fragile, would b during adolescence that it broke down entirely - strains + stresses of this period of change (body, responsibility + identity)
  • also intuitive in that theyre made up- lack the emperical evidence to back them up- viennese women- unfalsifiable -psych as a science (IDA) and needs emperical, observable evidence!
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  • However, subsequent psychoanalysts have suggested similar ideas:
    Fromm- Reichmann (1948)- schizophrenogenic mothers and families who are overprotective, moralistic, rejecting and dominant as important factors contributing to the development of Sz 
  • Lacks hist val- reflects attitudes of the time of mother blaming!
  • Studies have shown that parents of Sz patients do behave differently to others-particularly in the presence of their children - but cause/effect? do Sz children make parents b ehave differently or vice versa?
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Focus on impaired thought processes that characterise the disorder. 

Cognitive deficit theories - explain Sz in terms of attention impairment. Normally we use selective attention mechanisms to filter incoming stimuli and process them to extract meaning- this is defective in Sz patients- they become overwhelmed w incoming sensory stimuli. 

Theory acknowledges the role of biological factors in causing the inital problem- further aspects of the disorder develop as a result of indi's attempt to understand the worrying sensory experiences ...

-Too much confusing sensory info=person may misinterpret it (eg hallucinations) and get confused about causality (delusions)

When they turn to others to confirm the reality/validity of what they are experiencing - other people canot confirm the reality of what is happening - sufferers come to believe that others are hiding the truth- believe they are being manipulated - persecuted by others - PARANOID SYMPTOMS (positive symptom of Sz) 

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Supporting evidence in the form of finding that people w Sz perform poorly on various information processing tasks , eg reaction times, visual tracking, short term memory size estimation + categorisation - suggests this is an attention problem. 

Lindenburg 2002- link between excess dopmaine in the pre frontal cortex and working memory - Bio and cognitive influencing eachothers- disathesis stress model 

Major issue w cognitive exp's - describe symptoms but dont explain where they originate from- leaving this to the biological model 

Other commentary:

- evidence that bio is important - CONCORDANCE study, not just psych Joseph 2004- 40.4% vs 7.4% NATURE V NURTURE

Alternative exp: 
-all effective treatment are based on bio exp-psychotherapy is ineffective when used alone. 

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