Psychological Explanations for SZ: Family Dysfunction

  • Created by: 0045253
  • Created on: 11-06-22 12:03
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  • Family Dysfunction
    • These theories believe that the problems within a family contribute to onset and relapse of schizophrenia. 
    • Double-Bind Communication
      • A form of communication where a child receives mixed messages about their relationship where one contradicts the other 
      • Child feels trapped and does not know how to respond, as what ever they do they feel they will be wrong
      • May become excessively suspicious, always looking for hidden meanings (paranoia) .
      • Prevents the development of coherent version of reality (disorganised thinking)
      • STRENGTH
        • P - There is supporting evidence for double-bind communication.
          • E - Berger (1965) studied the retrospective family experience of  patients with a diagnosis of SZ compared with a control group of students without a diagnosis of SZ.
            • E - It was found that patients with SZ had a higher recall of double bind statements in their childhood.
              • L - This shows that there's a relationship between double-bind communication and SZ.
    • Expressed Emotion
      • Where family shows exaggerated involvement, control, criticism which increases likelihood of relapse
      • High levels of EE in carers directed towards the patient are a serious source of stress.
      • May trigger the onset of SZ in person who is already vulnerable.
      • STRENGTH
        • P - There is supporting evidence.
          • E - Butzlaff & Hooley (1998): Meta-analysis of 27 studies of EE outcome relationship in SZ. 
            • E - Relapse rates were double in patients with high levels of EE in the family.
              • L - This means that family dysfunction has a role in the relapse rates of schizophrenia
      • P - Having knowledge of psychological explanations for SZ allows researchers to develop therapies to reduce symptoms e.g. family therapy.  
        • E - Family therapy aims to improve the quality of communication and interaction between family members. E.g. by reducing the number of double-bind statements
          • L - This shows that the research into psychological explanations of SZ could have a positive impact in the real world.


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