The family has long been thought to play a critical role in the etiology and course of schizophrenia. Early formulations based on psychoanalytic theory postulated that schizophrenia emerged as a defense against hostile or rejecting parental attitudes. Sullivan (1927) was one of the first pioneers to emphasize the interpersonal nature of schizophrenia and to explore the role of the family. He attempted to treat the illness by recreating the family in an inpatient setting, in order to provide patients with emotional experiences that would presumably correct early pathological family interactions. Fromm-Reichmann (1948) conducted extensive individual treatment with schizophrenic patients, and introduced the term schizophreugenic mother to describe a pattern of overbearing, emotionally insecure behavior observed in the mothers of some patients. While many of these speculations were not supported by later research, they served to draw attention to the families of schizophrenic patients and initiated the first systematic research into family factors and schizophrenia.


Communication Skill Negative Symptom Schizophrenic Patient Family Therapy Antipsychotic Medication 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim T. Mueser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMedical College of Pennsylvania at EPPIPhiladelphiaUSA

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