Psychological Explanations of Schizophrenia

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Psychological Theories

  • Psychodynamic
  •  Freud said schizphrenia was the result of: regression to a pre-ego stage and attempts to re-establish ego control. 
  • If a schizophrenics world has previously been harsh, the early stage may be regressed to before the ego was properly formed and before a realistic awareness had been developed of the world. 
  • Schizophrenia was seen by Freud as an infantile state with some symptons reflecting primitive conditionsand other symptons reflected ability to dry and redevelop eg-control.
  • Cognitive
  • This explanation acknowledges the role of biological factors in causing the initial sensory experiences of schizophrenia. 
  • Further features are just the individual understanding. 
  • Turning to others when experiencing positive symptons makes them believe that others are hiding the truth. So they reject feedback and become delusional.


  • Psychodynamic Explanations
  • No research evidence supporting Freuds ideas except psychoanalysts claims that disordered family patterns are the cause.
  • Schizophregenic mothers who are dominant have contributory influences in the development. 
  • Parents of schizophrenic patients do behave differently from parents of other kinds of patient, particularly in the presence of their disturbed offspring but this is as likely to be a conseuqnce of their children's problems as a cause
  • Cognitive Explanations
  • Evidence of a physical basis for cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia.
  • A link was found between excess dopamine in the prefrontal cortex, and working memory
  • madness being a consequence of disbelieving others receives curious support from a recent suggestion for treatment. 
  • A maachine producing virtual hallucinations has been released to show schizophrenics that their hallucinations are not real- no evidence for this being a sucessful treatment.

Socio-Cultural Factors

  • Life Events and Schizophrenia
  • Major stress factor been associated with higher risk of schizophrenic episodes is the ocurrence of stressful life events.  e.g. death of a close relative. 
  • Prior to a schizophrenic episode, patients previously expericeingschizophrenia reported twice as many stressful life events compared to a healthy


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