Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Anthropology

Advisor

Corrucini, Robert

Abstract

Is schizophrenia caused and ultimately guided by biology or do environmental factors such as culture and interaction style impact the course and even the onset of this disease? In this paper, the biological mechanisms of schizophrenia and the environmental influences on its behavioral and biological symptomology will be explored. Evidence will be provided that supports both the biological etiology of this mental illness as well as the strong influence of environmental factors, such as culture, on the severity, onset, and relapse rate of schizophrenia. It will be shown that even the structure and function of the schizophrenic brain is influenced by environmental factors, particularly social factors. The biocultural study of schizophrenia cross culturally is a fertile area and ideas for future research will be explored.

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