Evaluate psychological explanations for schizophrenia [16]:

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  • Created by: Nicole
  • Created on: 07-06-13 20:14

Evaluate psychological explanations for schizophrenia [16]:                                        

The influence of the labelling theory is shown in Rosenhan’s famous study. The aim was to show that psychiatrists are unable to tell the difference between the sane and the insane and that, therefore, psychiatric classification and diagnosis are totally unreliable. But, he also discussed the effects of diagnostic labelling at great length. His results demonstrate that psychiatric labels will become self-fulfilling prophecies that stick in a way that medical labels do not. Everything that the patient says or does is interpreted in accordance with the diagnostic label once it has been applied.

The labelling theory has intuitive appeal as patients are sometimes given labels that are unjustified. However, schizophrenia is more than just a label. There is a reality behind schizophrenia. Another problem for the theory is why is the label applied in the first place? This theory cannot account for why someone begins to show deviant behaviour in the first place. Also, if diagnostic labels are really so powerful why were the genuine patients in the Rosenhan study not deceived by them?

The theory also lacks cultural relativity. This theory implies that all cultures should have different definitions of abnormality reflecting different social norms and values. However, in a study that evaluated


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