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Schizophrenia: Psychological Theories. Family systems theory Psychosocial & environmental stress. psychlotron.org.uk. Family Systems Theory. Origins in: The psychoanalytical tradition (the influence of the family on abnormal behaviour)

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Schizophrenia: Psychological Theories

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Schizophrenia psychological theories l.jpg

Schizophrenia: Psychological Theories

  • Family systems theory

  • Psychosocial & environmental stress

psychlotron.org.uk


Family systems theory l.jpg

Family Systems Theory

  • Origins in:

    • The psychoanalytical tradition (the influence of the family on abnormal behaviour)

    • Systems thinking (idea that things are best understood by looking at the relationships between a set of entities)

psychlotron.org.uk


Family system l.jpg

F

M

C1

C3

C2

Family System

A family can be seen as a set of entities, each interacting with all the others.

The behaviour of each entity can only be understood by looking at its relationships with the others

psychlotron.org.uk


Family system4 l.jpg

F

M

C1

C3

C2

Family System

If one person starts to behave abnormally the problem might not lie within that person

Their behaviour may be a manifestation of a problem occurring within the wider family system

C2

psychlotron.org.uk


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Double Bind Theory (Bateson, 1956)

  • Schizophrenia is a consequence of abnormal patterns in family communication

    • The patient is a ‘symptom’ of a family-wide problem

    • They become ‘ill’ to protect the stability of the family system

psychlotron.org.uk


Double bind theory l.jpg

Double Bind Theory

  • In a double bind situation a person is given mutually contradictory signals by another person

    • This places them in an impossible situation, causing internal conflict

    • Schizophrenic symptoms represent an attempt to escape from the double bind

psychlotron.org.uk


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Double Bind Theory

  • Bateson (1956) reports clinical evidence (interviews, observations) illustrating use of double bind communication by parents of schizophrenia patients

    • Issues of researcher (confirmatory) bias

    • Problems with direction of causality

psychlotron.org.uk


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Double Bind Theory

  • Liem et al (1974) compared communication patterns in families with & without a schizophrenic member

    • Abnormality in parental communication was a response to the schizophrenic symptoms, not vice versa

    • Some issues with ecological validity

psychlotron.org.uk


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Double Bind Theory

  • Some evidence that family processes play a role in relapse of schizophrenia patients following stabilisation

    • Relapse more likely (58% vs. 10%) where family is high in ‘expressed emotion’ (Brown et al, 1966)

    • Families high in criticism, hostility & over-involvement lead to more relapse (Vaughn & Leff, 1976)

psychlotron.org.uk


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