UQx PSYC1030.3x 2-4-3 Diathesis-stress model of Schizophrenia


Now I want to return to an idea that I mentioned
earlier – the interaction between genes and the environment in the development of
schizophrenia. Probably the best, most useful, and accurate
way of thinking about how and why schizophrenia develops is through the lens of what is referred
to as a diathesis stress model. A diathesis stress model proposes that, with
schizophrenia, there is an underlying vulnerability that is most likely related to a genetic predisposition. However, this vulnerability may only convert
into an illness in the context of environmental stressors. This is a diagrammatic representation of the
model. Hypothesised diatheses for Schizophrenia include
genetic factors, physical trauma prenatally or during birth, structural abnormalities
of the brain, and abnormalities in the neurotransmitter systems. Some of the possible environmental stressors
include chronic psychological and social stressors. For example, those associated with poverty. Other stressors include, living in a family
environment with a high level of negative expressed emotion, and drug use. The association between Schizophrenia and
drug use is worth emphasising, as there has been increasing research linking drug use––especially
marijuana ––with the development of psychotic symptoms in people who have an underlying
vulnerability.

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