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Outline and evaluate psychological explanations of schizophrenia

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Introduction

Outline and evaluate psychological explanations of schizophrenia The incidence of schizophrenia is not distributed evenly across the population. The highest rates of schizophrenia are found in urban areas, among people of the lowest socioeconomic group. The incidence of schizophrenia among the very poor is four times greater than in the highest socio economic grou0p. Two hypotheses have been suggested to explain these findings: the social causation hypothesis and the social drift hypothesis. According to the social causation hypothesis, it is the experience of being a member of a low socioeconomic status group that explains the higher incidence of schizophrenia. Unemployment, poverty, high crime rate and poor housing induce a great deal of stress and feelings of alienation, which in turn make people more vulnerable to schizophrenia. Whilst the social drift hypothesis, it is accorded that this hypothesis people with schizophrenia drift down the social ladder into the lowest socioeconomic group. As a result of their disorder they may be unemployed or be restricted to low paid and unskilled jobs. Support for the social causation hypothesis comes from findings that schizophrenia is almost seven times more common in African-Caribbean people than in white ...read more.

Middle

Is the metacommunication. A child who is continuously put in double-bind situations has great difficulty in developing an internal construction of reality and struggles to find a strategy to cope with her/her confusion. One strategy is to ignore primary communications and instead look for the metacommunications - in looks, voice tones and gestures. A person who adopts this way of making sense of their world may be on their way to developing symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. There has been very little support for the double-bind hypothesis. However, studies have shown that schizophrenia is often linked to stressful family situations. It has been found that parents of people with schizophrenia show more conflict, have greater difficulty in communicating and are more critical and over-involved with each other than parents of people without schizophrenia (Comer 1998) An important methodological flaw in family studies was that the family interactions were studied retrospectively. Thus there is a problem of cause and effect: the disturbed patterns of communication may contribute to the development of schizophrenia (a cause) or be the result of living with a person who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia (an effect). ...read more.

Conclusion

There is an issue of identifying a family with high expressed emotion - assessment requires only one observation or interview, which may not be sufficient to provide a reliable picture of family dynamics. A positive outcome of research into expressed emotion has been its application in treatment programmes - supporting family members in controlling levels of expressed emotion. However, although many theorists agree that social factors and dysfunctional family interactions play some role, evidence from other sources challenge a strictly psychological account of schizophrenia. The findings from twin studies show an important genetic contribution. Tiernari's Finnish adoption studiy found that the reported cases of schizophrenia were amongst high risk children (those whose biological mothers were diagnosed schizophrenic) and who were raised in families rated as 'disturbed'. However, low-risk (that is children whose biological mothers did not have schizophrenia) raised in families rated as 'disturbed', did not develop schizophrenia. The implication of this finding is that both a genetic predisposition and adverse life experiences are involved in the development of schizophrenia. ?? ?? ?? ?? A2 Psychology Sam Wong ...read more.

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Response to the question

Response to Question: The writer gives a competent description of a wide range of explanations of schizophrenia (social causation hypothesis, the social drift hypothesis, double-bind communications, expressed emotion, genetics and environment). Additionally many plausible evaluations are given – and ...

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Response to the question

Response to Question: The writer gives a competent description of a wide range of explanations of schizophrenia (social causation hypothesis, the social drift hypothesis, double-bind communications, expressed emotion, genetics and environment). Additionally many plausible evaluations are given – and these work in a logical order following each descriptive point. For example the writer describes the double-blind hypothesis – “Double-bind messages contain a contradiction between a verbal communication (termed the primary communication) and a nonverbal communication (the metacommunication).” and then criticises it accordingly – “There has been very little support for the double-bind hypothesis…”. However, despite a decent amount of solid information, the essay lacks an introduction and conclusion which would help to make the overall opinion of the writer more obvious, and hence raise the standard of the essay. The intro could simply contain: a definition of schizophrenia and a quick summary of which explanations are going to be explored. Then the conclusion could come to a decision on which is the best explanation and why (or say that several are equally valid).

Level of analysis

Level of Analysis: They provide many good evaluative points for instance, evidence for the theory of expressed emotion from Kavanagh. This is then also evaluated for having no direction of causality. Giving a piece of research to support and then also evaluating this research is good as it shows a greater depth of understanding – rather than simply learning lists of studies. Nevertheless a lot of points could be more fully developed for example “A positive outcome of research into expressed emotion has been its application in treatment programmes – supporting family members in controlling levels of expressed emotion.” One sentence is acceptable to explain a point but probably won’t get you top marks. To improve this the writer needs to expand and elaborate on the point (they could say what the treatment programmes involve and compare them to alternative treatments. Why are they better? Are they cheaper? Lower relapse rates? More ethical?) . Finally, as mentioned above, a conclusion needs to be reached in order to fully answer the ‘evaluate’ part of the question; the writer should pick a/a few theories and say which is better and why.

Quality of writing

Quality of Writing: In terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation the essay is fine. Technical terms such as ‘double-blind’ and ‘expressed emotion’ are used successfully – this shows the reader that the writer understands the topic fully. In criticism, the writer doesn’t follow conventions in terms of structure – there is no introduction or conclusion which prevents the essay from reaching the highest mark bands. To add, the way the essay is laid-out lets it down; it is unconventional to use so many one-sentence-paragraphs and so this should be avoided. Some of these short paragraphs could have been condensed into one longer paragraph on the same topic (such as the 3 points on expressed emotion). These could be connected with words like ‘furthermore’, ‘however’ and ‘nevertheless’ so that it sounds more flowing and natural.


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