How do the four biological explanations fit together to explain schizophrenia or are they mutually exclusive?
The biological explanation can be divided into subcategories to explain schizophrenia; genetic, biochemistry (dopamine hypothesis), brain structure and season of birth explanation.
Firstly there’s genetics. This view says some people posses certain genes that predispose them to schizophrenia. However, if schizophrenia was totally and always inherited then concordance rates between MZ twins (identical) and DZ twins (non identical) would be 100%. If on the other hand genetic inheritance had nothing to do with schizophrenia, the concordance rates would be close to 0%. Gottesman found there was a concordance rate of 48% for MZ twins as opposed to 17% for DZ twins. Kendler supported this, finding there was a concordance rate of 50% for MZ twins compared to a 15% rate doe DZ twins. Gottesman also looked at concordance rates within families finding if both parents had schizophrenia, then there was a 46% chance the offspring would suffer from it, and if one parent had schizophrenia there was 16% chance offspring would have it.
Gottesman’s research supports the idea of genetics playing a role, however, concordance rates are not 100% so it can’t be said that genetics are the only cause. Also, twin studies don’t account for the fact that twins are often brought up in the same environment and treated similarly, especially MZ twins, therefore the concordance rates could be due to environmental factors rather than genetics.
All these studies support each other and this therefore shows there is a predisposition to schizophrenia. However, concordance rates are not 100%, so it cannot be said that genetics is the only cause. There is further support from adoption studies for the genetic explanation of schizophrenia. Tienari found that children who had been adopted away from a schizophrenic biological mother were still more likely to get it than children adopted...
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