A-Level Notes > Winstanley College A-Level Notes > AQA Psychology A: Schizophrenia: Explanations of Schizophrenia Notes
Explanations Of Schizophrenia Notes
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Genetic explanations of
Some people inherit a genetic predisposition to Sz.
Your chances of inheriting Sz are increased if you have a
genetic relative with it.
It has been found that the more closely related they are,
the greater the chance you will develop the disorder too.
For example if you have one Sz parent there is a 13%
chance you will inherit it and if you have two Sz parents it
rises to 46%.
There are a number of genes that contribute to Sz but
none alone are responsible for the disease.
It is estimated that the current number of genes
associated with Sz is 10. The gene variations linked to the
development are common in every population.
The more of these gene variations a person has, the
greater their risk of developing Sz.
A link has been found with a specific gene on
chromosome 22 to a near double risk of developing Sz
It is thought to affect levels of dopamine which is involved
in thought, perception and emotions.
The changes can result in hallucinations, delusions and
disorganised thinking which are all symptoms of Sz.
Strengths of genetic
explanations of Sz
Twin studies show that concordance rates for Sz in monozygotic twins were
higher than for dizygotic twins. Since monozygotic twins share more genes, this
supports the idea that one of the predisposing factors for Sz could be genetics
since it is assumed that both sets of twins would be treated similarly to each
other, thus ruling out environmental factors that may cause the condition.
However… the concordance rate is never 100% which suggests its not just genes
it's other factors as well that affect it e.g. family life. Also MZ twins are often
treated more similarly than DZ twins because they look the same and they
experience more 'identity confusion' than DZ twins. Therefore the differences in
concordance rates might be down to the fact DZ twins have more of a different
environment than MZ twins and these environmental factors could play a part in
the development of Sz.
One longitudinal study compared a group of children with Sz mothers (called the
highrisk group) to a group of children with mothers who didn't have Sz (called the
lowrisk group). The two groups were matched on many environmental factors
such as age, gender and socioeconomic status. When the children reached
adulthood, a followup study was conducted which found that 16% of the highrisk
children had been diagnosed with Sz whereas only 1.9% of the lowrisk group
were diagnosed with it. This suggests there is a strong genetic component
because of the clear link between having a parent with Sz and developing it
The Finnish adoption study looked at adopted children whose biological mothers
had been diagnosed with Sz and compared them to other adopted children
whose mothers hadn't been diagnosed with any mental disorder. They had all
been separated by the time they were 4 to try and rule out a contributory
environmental factors. It was found that 7% of the children with a Sz mother
developed it compared to only 1.5% of the control group. This suggests that it
was genetics playing a part in the development of the disorder since
environmental factors had been removed such as copying the mother's
Weaknesses of genetic
explanations of Sz
The link between parents with Sz and children having Sz
might not be solely caused by genetics. SLT theory would
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