Discuss the key features of the biological approach to psychopathology. (12 marks)
The biological approach to psychopathology explains abnormal behaviour in terms of physical factors. These might be inherited, or might be a consequence of viral infection. Some problems such as schizophrenia have been shown to be passed on from parent to child, and twin studies have shown that if one identical twin has schizophrenia, there is a 50% chance that the other twin also has schizophrenia. This is known as a concordance rate, although if schizophrenia was entirely inherited, this concordance rate should be 100%.
Some researchers (e.g. Torrey, 2001) have found that some mothers of schizophrenics had contracted influenza when they were pregnant, and this virus had entered their brain and re-emerged during adolescence to cause the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Some critics of the biological approach, like Thomas Szasz, claim that physical illness and mental…