Psychological Explanations of Schizophrenia

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  • Created on: 15-06-13 21:32

Psychodynamic Theory

  • Freud saw schizophrenia as an infantile state which is cause by regression to a pre-ego stage in childhood
  • Regression is an ego defense mechanism - people may regress to an earlier type of behavior when they suffer a traumatic experiance 
  • Having returned to a stage before the ego formed the schizophrenic individual has not developed a realistic awareness of the external world
  • Manifest symptoms express this state including delusions of grandeur and auditory halluscinations
  • Freud explains it as an attempt to re-establish ego control which has been lost as a consequence of harsh parenting
  • Laing's study of "Sanity and Madness" can be used to examplify this point 
  • Other psychologists support idea of dysfunctional family patterns, eg Fromm-Reichmann saw that schizophrenogenic mothers or families who are over protective as important influence for the development of schizophrenia 
  • Oltmann et al - parents of schizophrenia children do act different to parents of other kinds of patients
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Cognitive Models of Schizophrenia (for evaluation

  • Focus on the impaired thought processes that characterise schizophrenia 
  • Supported by poor performance of schizophrenia sufferers on information processing such as visual tracking, short term memory, and reaction time
  • Such models do not explain how schizophrenia originated in the first place 
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Socio-Cultural Factors

  • Stressful life events such as the death of close relatives or the breakdown of established relationships have been linked to there being higher risk of the onset of schizophrenia 
  • Supported by Brown and Birley who found that schizophrenia sufferers reported having twice as many stressful life events prior to an episode of schizophrenia than a healthy control group
  • Vanos suggests that there are no links between life events and schizophrenia onset 
  • It is alsio suggested that the onset of schixophrenia may be the cause of some stressful life events rather than the other way round, eg losing a job due to schizophrenic characteristics 
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Family Relationships

  • Bateson's "Double Bind" theory suggests children who recieve messages from parents which were ambivelent or contradictory were more likely to develop schizophrenia 
  • Berger found schizophrenia sufferers more likely to remember double bind statement than non sufferers
  • Leam found no different between families with and without schizophrenia sufferers 
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