Diathesis Stress Theory

Diathesisstressdualriskmodel.JPG

No one knows exactly what causes schizophrenia, and there are a number of existing theories seeking to explain the origins of the disease. The diathesis-stress theory is one well-established explanation for schizophrenia, proposing that schizophrenia is the result of a combination of environmental and biological/genetic factors. According to this theory, schizophrenia symptoms are triggered or worsened when environmental stressors (stress) act upon a biological vulnerability (diathesis) to the disease.

The diathesis-stress theory of schizophrenia has led to a great deal of research on common stressors among schizophrenics and ways to manage and minimize their effects. According to the theory, there are many different types of stressors--such as biological, social, and psychological--that may precipitate the development of schizophrenia. One example of research based on the diathesis-stress theory is the recent research study that found that stress may be why city dwellers are at an increased risk for schizophrenia.

The diathesis-stress theory just one theory about the cause of schizophrenia, but there is scientific support for it. Studies have shown that schizophrenia has a genetic or hereditary component, and the presence or absence of certain life stressors could explain why not all people who are genetically vulnerably go on to develop the disease.

Login or Register