Measuring abnormality: – Statistical infrequency – Measuring abnormality in terms of statistics. IQ is a way in which this is measured. The average IQ is 100, most people obtain an IQ between 85 and 115, only 2% of people score below 70. If your IQ is measured as scoring below 70, you’re classed as statistically ‘abnormal’.Deviation from social norms – Abnormally is based upon social context. This is measured by observing if a person behaves in a way which is different from how they are expected to behave in society. Examples include failure to conform to lawful and culturally ethical behaviour. Failure to function adequately – Measured by looking at someones inability to cope with everyday living.

For instance, being unable to hold down a job.Deviation from ideal mental health – Measured by looking at an individual and observing if they deviate from what is normal and psychologically healthy behaviour. This can be looked at via the individual not meeting Jahoda (1958) criteria for ideal mental health or someone’s inability to keep a job maybe outset signs they’re unable to cope with these pressures, hence failure to function.   Demographics:Schizophrenia is suffered by around 1% of the population, being primarily more common in young people. 70% of cases begin in those aged between 16 and 25, being most common in late teenage years. This is due to this particular time being when the person is going through substantial emotional and psychological changes as a normal part of their development. It is more likely to be diagnosed in men than women.

More likely to be diagnosed in cities than the countryside, with the risk said to be twice as high and more likely within the working class then those who are middle class, due to a lack of availability in services where they can get help. Symptoms:For schizophrenia to be diagnosed, symptoms must be present within the DSM-5 and ICD-10. Within the DSM-5, one positive symptom must be present, such as, delusions, hallucinations or speech disorganisation.

Within the ICD-10, two or more negative symptoms are sufficient for diagnosis, such as, avolition and speech poverty. The main characteristics of schizophrenia are split into positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.  Flanagan et al. (2017) states that, positive symptoms are additional experiences beyond those of ordinary existence. Flanagan et al. (2017) further states that negative symptoms are loss of usual abilities and experiences.

The two main positive symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are classed as sensory experiences that have no basis in reality or distorted perceptions of real things. Experienced in relation to any sense.

For example, hearing voices or seeing people who aren’t there. Delusions are beliefs that have no basis in reality, they make a person with schizophrenia behave in ways that make sense to them but are bizarre to others. For example, beliefs about being a very important person.The two main negative symptoms of schizophrenia are avolition and speech poverty. Avolition is the severe loss of motivation to carry out everyday tasks such as personal hygiene or going to work.

This results in low activity levels and having the unwillingness to carry out goal-directed behaviours. Speech poverty is a reduction in the amount and quality of speech. Also there may be a delay in verbal responses during conversations. Two explanations for schizophrenia are the biological and psychological.Biological:Genetics:There is a link between genetic similarity of family members and the chance of both then developing schizophrenia.

Gottesman (1991) family study found MZ twins have a 48% shared risk of schizophrenia. DZ twins have a 17% shared risk and siblings, who shared around 50% of their genes, have a 9% shared risk. Candidate genes:Schizophrenia is polygenic and astrologically heterogeneous. Individual genes are seen to be associated with the risk of inheritance. Numerous genes are linked to being a minor increase in risk. Polygenic means it needs a number of factors to work in combination. Various studies have identified different genes, so schizophrenia is classed as aetiologically heterogeneous, meaning different combinations of factors can result in having the condition. Ripke et al (2014) compared the genetic make-up of 37,000 patients to 113,000 controls and discovered that 108 separate genetic variations were linked with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia.

Genes included those associated to neurotransmitters, such as dopamine.Neurotransmitters:These are observed to work differently in the brain of a schizophrenic, This is especially true in relation to dopamine, which may play a part in the symptoms of schizophrenia, due to it being featured in the functioning of brain systems. Hyperdopaminergia – subcortex:Theories suggested that it was high levels of dopamine activity in the subcortex that was linked to schizophrenia. Such as having an excess of dopamine receptors in Broca’s area, the area of the brain which is responsible for speech.

This may be linked to speech poverty and auditory hallucinations.Hypodopaminergia – cortex: Most recent accounts of the hypothesis suggest that it is in fact low levels of dopamine within the prefrontal cortex that is responsible for schizophrenia.  Neural correlates: A neural correlate is a link between the structure or function of the brain and a specific condition. They both then correlate with both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.Neural correlates – negative symptoms: Avolition is a loss of motivation. Motivation involves the anticipation of a reward, specific regions of the brain, such as the ventral striatum, are thought to be involved in this.

This means abnormality in areas like the ventral striatum, may be involved in developing avolition. Juckel et al (2006) measured activity levels in the ventral striatum of schizophrenics. They discovered lower levels of activity than in non-schizophrenics.

They observed a negative correlation between activity levels in the ventral striatum and the seriousness of overall negative symptoms. When activity levels within the ventral striatum decrease, the severity of symptoms increases. Thus, activity in the ventral striatum is regarded as a neural correlate to negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

Neural correlates – positive symptoms – Positive symptoms additionally have neural correlates. Allen et al (2007) scanned the brains of patients who are encountering auditory hallucinations and compared them to those of a control group. Lower activity levels were found within the superior temporal gyrus and anterior cingulate gyrus in those experiencing hallucinations.Therefore, reduced activity in these two areas is a neural correlate of auditory hallucinations. When the activity levels in the superior temporal gyrus and anterior cingulate gyrus decrease, frequency of auditory hallucinations increased.Biological evaluation:Gottesman’s study shows how genetic similarity is linked to schizophrenia. Adoption studies, such as Tienari et al (2004), show children of schizophrenic sufferers are more likely to get schizophrenia if adopted into families with no history of schizophrenia. There is evidence to support the idea that some people are more vulnerable to developing schizophrenia than others.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s entirely genetic as the biological approach seems to suggest.There is evidence to support that abnormal dopamine functioning affects schizophrenia. Substances such as amphetamines, increase the levels of dopamine, which make schizophrenia worse.

However, there is evidence suggesting that dopamine does not give a full explanation for schizophrenia as even though it does seem to be an important factor in schizophrenia, so are other neurotransmitters. Recent research has looked at the role of a neurotransmitter known as glutamate.Psychological explanations:The Schizophrengenic Mother  -Fromm-Reichmann (1948) put forward a psychodynamic explanation for schizophrenia, this was based upon versions of events she heard from patients based on their childhoods. She discovered that many of her schizophrenic patients talked about having a certain type of parent, this was the schizophrengenic mother. Schizophrengenic means ‘schizophrenia causing’.

Fromm Reichmann regarded this type of mother as cold, rejecting and controlling and tends to create a tense and secretive family environment. Eventually, this leads the child to feel distrust towards the mother, this later develops into paranoid delusions and ultimately, schizophrenia.Double-Bind Theory -Bateson et al (1972) acknowledged that family climate is essential in the development of schizophrenia but emphasised the role of communication within a family. Bateson et al (1972) expanded on from Fromm-Reichmann (1948). They stated that the child will regularly find themselves trapped in a situation where they feel they’re doing the wrong thing, to then receive mixed messages about what is right/wrong, and feel unable to bring forward the unfairness of the situation. When the child gets things wrong, they will be punished, by whats known as withdrawal of love. This leaves them feeling bewildered and having the fear they’re in constant danger.Expressed Emotion (EE) –  This is the level of emotion, especially negative emotion, expressed towards a patient via their carers.

The elements of EE:Verbal criticism of the patient, which may also turn into violenceHostility towards the patientEmotional over-involvement High levels of EE in carers towards the patient are a substantial source of stress for the patient. This is an explanation for relapse in patients with schizophrenia. It has also been suggested that stress can prompt the initial onset of schizophrenia within an individual who is already sensitive and vulnerable, this could be due to their genetic make-up. Psychodynamic Evaluation: Read et al (2005) Looked at 42 studies and concluded that 69% of schizophrenic adult women had a history of physical abuse, sexual abuse or both in childhood. A lot of the evidence consists of having the same problem. Information about childhood was gathered after the development of symptoms.

Therefore, the schizophrenia may have distorted patients’ memory of childhood experiences, creating a problem for the validity of the evidence. There is evidence that poor childhood experiences are linked with adult schizophrenia. However, there is little evidence to support the points about schizophrengenic mothers, double-bind and EE.

Furthermore, a problem with dysfunctional family explanations for schizophrenia is that this has led to parents blaming themselves about their child’s symptoms. 


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