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Schizophrenia As A Genetic Disorder

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Introduction

Discuss the view that schizophrenia is a genetic disorder. (30) The fact that schizophrenia has been found to run in families has led to the inference that it has a genetic basis. According to the genetic hypothesis, the closer related the family member to the schizophrenic the greater the chance of developing schizophrenia. However, experts do agree that if anything is inherited in schizophrenia, it is a genetic predisposition to develop the disease rather than a certainty. Evidence supporting the genetic basis of acquiring schizophrenia comes from family studies. These show that the risk of developing schizophrenia is greater for those more closely related to the schizophrenic. This is supported by Gottesman who found that if both parents have schizophrenia there is a 46% chance of developing the disease, if a single parent has schizophrenia there is a 16% chance and if a sibling has schizophrenia there is an 8% chance. ...read more.

Middle

Kennedy suggested that the validity of the research is questionable as the findings may be only representative of the original sample. Gottesman conducted further research into the concordance rates for monozygotic and dizygotic twins. Gottesman's analysis of twin studies found that there was a 48% concordance for monozygotic twins and only 17% for dizygotic twins. Gottesman also reported that the concordance rate for identical twins brought up apart was very similar to that for identical twins brought up together. Therefore this suggests that the high concordance rate for identical twins is not due to them being treated in a very similar way within the family i.e. nature over nurture. As the monozygotic twins are genetically identical whilst dizygotic twins are no more alike than ordinary siblings, this supports the involvement of genetic factors. If these were not important, and instead nurture was the key determinant, then there should be no difference in the concordance rates between monozygotic and dizygotic twins. ...read more.

Conclusion

This supports the importance of genetic factors and is evidence against the role of nurture. Further research into adoption studies was conducted by Hetson, who compared 47 children of schizophrenic mothers who had been adopted or fostered during the first month of their life. A control group was used of 50 children who has been raised in the same homes as these children. Interestingly, none of the control group developed schizophrenia but 16.6% of the children of schizophrenics did. Furthermore, these 47 children were far more likely to have been diagnosed with other psychological abnormalities and be involved in criminal activities than were the control group. Due to the fact that there isn't 100% concordance rates of schizophrenia in any of the gene studies there must be other factors that affect the likelihood of developing the disease. However, it can be said a predisposition is inherited. Factors such as chemicals in the brain, brain receptors, Fromm - Reichmann's 'schizophrenogenic mother hypothesis', culture and social class all play a part in the likelihood of developing schizophrenia. Jade Flint ...read more.

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