Interactionist approach to schizophrenia

  • Created by: EloiseMay
  • Created on: 22-03-18 08:12


Diathesis means vulnerability and stress means a negative psychological experience. Both vulnerability and stress-trigger are necessary for schizophrenia to develop. 

Meehl's model: The diathesis was completely genetic, caused by a schizogene that led to a biologically based schizotypic personality - a characteristic is stress. Meehl states that if yyou don't have the schizogene then no amount of stress can lead to Sz. Yet, in carriers, stress during younger life and the presence of the schizophrenogenic mother can trigger Sz. 

Modern understanding of diathesis-stress: Many genes increase vulnerability (not just a single schizogene), and there are non-genetic factors like psychological trauma. Read proposed that early trauma can alter the brain structure e.g. child avuse can affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system that becomes over-active, making the person more vulnerable to stress. Houston argues that a stressor can be anything that risks triggering Sz e.g. cannabis use. It can increase the risk of Sz by up to 7 times more. This could be because of its effect on the dopamine system. However, because not everyone develops Sz after smoking, it shows that there are other vulnerability factors.

Treatment: Antipsychotic medicine and CBT. Turkington says it is possible to believe in biological causes but use CBT to relieve psychological symptoms. However, this does mean they would've adopted an interactionist approach.


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