Genes and schizophrenia: a pseudoscientific disenfranchisement of the individual

M. P. Fleming, C. R. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The biological model of schizophrenia remains the dominant model within mental health services. It has a powerful influence on the culture of mental health services; providing the structure for the delivery and selection of mental health treatments. There is widespread acceptance of a genetic cause for schizophrenia. Acceptance of a genetic cause is inconsistent with a person-centred recovery-orientated approach. The following paper provides a rigorous review of the underpinning research that supports the genetic argument. Appraisal of family, twin and adoption studies uncovers serious flaws in the methodologies and statistical analyses used in studies. These flaws not only artificially inflate the genetic contribution to schizophrenia but also invalidate many of the findings. More recent micro-imaging techniques have also failed to find replicable and consistent findings indicating a clear genetic pathway to schizophrenia. Freed from the implied pessimism of an unmodifiable genetic cause for schizophrenia, mental health nurses can confidently work to instil hope with people that have a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-478
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • adoption studies
  • family studies
  • genetics
  • schizophrenia
  • twin studies


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