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Psychological Or Non Biological Explanations Of Schizophrenia Notes

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Psychological/ non-biological explanations for schizophrenia


Environmental factors o Parents - learnt behaviour o Working conditions o Social class, experience of poverty Psychodynamic explanation o Conflicts between unconscious id, ego and superego o Psychosexual stages of development Traumatic experience o Life events o Grievances Cognitive explanation o Processing information in a way that the person develops schizophrenia
 E.g. delusions, paranoia Learning explanation/ behaviourism


Concerned with unconscious processes According to the psychodynamic approach, abnormality is caused by unresolved conflict between the id, ego and superego that has been repressed into the unconscious o Causes 'inner turmoil' which leads to schizophrenic behaviour Freud argued that if the world of the schizophrenic is particularly harsh, a child may become fixated a particular stage of development e.g. if the child's parents are cold and uncaring If a child becomes fixated at the oral stage, it could explain the sense of 'loss of reality' experienced by schizophrenics o Because the ego has no control - auditory hallucinations could be the ego trying to regain control Prior to the ego developing, the child is ruled by the id (selfish desires) o Schizophrenia can therefore represent a regression to this time Some symptoms represent the ego's attempt to re-establish itself Evaluation

o Lack of falsifiability / ability to test
 Face validity in the assumption that schizophrenics suffer 'inner turmoil' - cannot be proven o Speculative
 Impossible to empirically test concepts such as the id, ego and superego - a lot of interpretation in Freud's theory o Lack of evidence
 Subsequent psychoanalysts, like Freud, have claimed that disordered family patterns are the cause of schizophrenia e.g. family interactions and patterns of communication were linked to the cause of schizophrenia - 'schizophregenic families' was used to describe dysfunctional families

Psychodynamic ideas:

Approaches o Biological - objective and measurable - born with drives Issues o Unfalsifiable Ethics o Revisiting repressed memories Debates o Determinism v free will o Nomothetic v idiographic Evaluation o Low temporal validity - Victorian era o Low population validity - case studies o Unscientific - relies on memories etc.

Behaviourist/ learning approach:

Classical conditioning o Association o Unconditioned stimulus leads to unconditioned response o Pain leads to fear o Born with innate behaviours to survive o Unconditioned and conditioned stimulus leads to unconditional response o Pain and music leads to fear o Conditioned stimulus leads to conditioned response

o Music leads to fear o Association happens in the second stage and has been learnt Operant conditioning (important for schizophrenia) o Reinforcement/ consequences - subjective o Positive reinforcement - give child something they want o Negative reinforcement - take something away that child doesn't want o Punishment - when something unpleasant happens but an alternative behaviour is not learnt - not useful learning technique Social learning theory o Observation o Learn through exposure to role models with an opportunity to observe them directly or indirectly o Imitate the role model o If internalisation takes place, then identification has occurred
 These may not happen due to mediating cognitive factors which are mental processes which influence whether we imitate the person or not o Vicarious reinforcement - someone else gets reinforcement

Behavioural approach suggests all behaviour is learned:

Operant conditioning o Punishment causes child to withdraw through fear of further punishment o Child becomes viewed and labelled as 'odd' o Child is given attention (positive reinforcement) which encourages them to remain withdrawn o Child then conforms to 'odd' label o Child shows more exaggerated behaviours to gain attention o Schizophrenia develops To what extent is it appropriate to blame the parents/ anyone responsible for that behaviour/ schizophrenia Cannot explain all experiences of schizophrenia People could be playing up to label instead of genuinely having an illness - exaggeration Potentially damaging explanation - fault is that of parents or victim - suggests they have a level of control Could prevent schizophrenia in young children Shows punishment is not good way of learning Labelling brings stereotypes - labelling theory

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