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)
Systems thinking (idea that things are best understood by looking at the relationships between a set of entities) psychlotron.org.uk Family System F M C1 C3
C2 The behaviour of each entity can only be understood by looking at its relationships with the others psychlotron.org.uk A family can be seen as a set of entities, each interacting with all the others. F
M C1 C3 C2 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 psychlotron.org.uk Family System 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 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
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 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 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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