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Psycology » Psychiatry and psychotherapy » Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder » Role of the family in the occurrence of schizophrenia

There are two theories about the family as a cause of schizophrenia: one of them considers to be a major factor in the rejection of role relationships, other abnormalities in communication in the family (see: Liem 1980). The special role of the family in terms of its effect on the course of schizophrenia will be discussed later (see p.228).

Deviations in role relationships

The notion of a schizophrenic mother was proposed in 1948 by the analyst Fromm-Reichmann. When comparing mothers of schizophrenics and mothers of subjects suffering from neuroses, and mothers of healthy people (control group) Alanen (1958, 1970) found that mothers of schizophrenics significantly more psychological abnormalities. He suggested that these abnormalities may be an important cause of schizophrenia in the child.
Lidz and his colleagues (Lidz, Lidz 1949; Lidz et al. 1965), applying intensive psychoanalytic techniques studied family of seventeen patients with schizophrenia, of which fourteen belonged to social classes I or P. Control group was not. Reported two types of pathological family model: (I) imbalance in the marital relationship in which one parent gives eccentricities of the other (usually the mother), which dominates the family; (II) family split (splitting), in which the parents have opposite views, so that the child is in a situation of split loyalties. It has been suggested that such variations are likely the cause rather than the result of schizophrenia. Studies conducted by other clinicians, have not confirmed these findings (see: Sharan 1965; Ferreira, Winter 1965). But even if they are confirmed, we should not forget that the deviations from their parents may reflect a genetic cause or be secondary to the patient's disorder. These and other hypotheses about the causal role of family relationships had its negative consequence of encouraging unwarranted guilt parents.

Impaired obshenie family

Study disturbed intrafamily communication arose from the idea of Dual commitments (Double bind) (Bateson et al. 1956). It is believed that the dual obligations arise when the instruction given openly contradicted by other, more hidden. For example, the mother tells the child openly go to her, at the same time their behavior and tone expressing his rejection. The next element, according to this theory, is the inability of the child to avoid a situation in which he receives conflicting instructions. According to Bateson, dual obligation not to leave the child option but ambiguous and meaningless responses. And if the process is preserved and further, that, as suggested by Bateson, may develop schizophrenia. This theory is ingenious, but it is not supported by the facts (for details see Ref Leff 1978).
Wynne and his colleagues suggested that the model of impaired communication among parents of schizophrenics may be different (Wynne et al. 1958). These researchers first suggested these parents projective tests and identified amorphous connection (indistinct, vague and weak) and fragmented communication (easily interruptible, poorly integrated and unfinished). In further studies using blind interpretation of these tests in the parents of schizophrenics was found more of these broken relationships than parents of individuals suffering from neurosis (Singer, Wynne 1965). As a result, independent of a similar study Hirsch and Leff (1975) found a similar but less pronounced difference between the parents of schizophrenic patients and parents of control subjects. These scientists believed that this difference can be explained simply tendency of parents of schizophrenic patients to give more detailed answers during projective testing. However, after the data Singer and Wynne (1965) has been re-evaluated based on the number of statements were still some significant differences between parents of schizophrenics and control subjects.
Subsequent attempts to test the hypothesis Wynne used more elaborate methods such as observation spoken at home during the execution of a job (see: Liem 1980; Wynne 1981). While this hypothesis should be treated as unproven. Even if the data Wynne confirmed, remain possible that the corresponding bias is not likely to cause the development of schizophrenia in a family member, and are a response to his illness. Neither theory Wynne, or any other theory of impaired communication can not convincingly explain why it is extremely rare, schizophrenia develops when more than one child in the family.


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