Biological Model

  • Mark C. Wilde
  • Paul M. Cinciripini


Biological models of psychopathology emphasize the relationship between a specific constellation of symptoms and an underlying abnormality in physiologic function. Such disorders may be treated with medication and other approaches that are thought to directly alter the underlying biological abnormality (Andrea-sen, 1984). Modern biological models of psychopathology may be traced to the work of Emile Kraepelin and other European psychiatrists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who developed nosological distinctions between major psychiatric disorders, as had been done with major systematic disorders (Andreasen, 1984). Although Kraepelin focused on the development of a diagnostic nosology (with little emphasis on etiology), he believed that disorders such as schizophrenia were caused by underlying biologic factors (Arieti, 1974). In recent years, biological models of psychopathology have increased in popularity, and research has intensified in biologically oriented therapies. Based on animal models, inference from responses to medication, and advanced research methods using sophisticated laboratory imaging techniques and biochemical assays, several hypothesis have been suggested to explain the possible biological basis of certain mental disorders. The present chapter provides an introduction to the biological basis of psychopathology, and presents the reader with the conceptual basis of contemporary biological models, including: genetic, biochemical, neuroanatomical, and neuroendocrinological.


Limbic System Cerebral Spinal Fluid Biological Model Hypothalamic Pituitary Axis Nonshared Environmental Influence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark C. Wilde
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul M. Cinciripini
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.The Institute for Rehabilitation and ResearchHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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