The term “schizophrenogenic mother” is a negative stereotype found in the psychiatric literature of the 1950s through to the 1970s. It refers to mothers of individuals who develop schizophrenia, the implication being that the mother has induced the illness (Hartwell 1996). Frieda Fromm-Reichmann is generally credited with coining the term in 1948, when she wrote that “the schizophrenic is painfully distrustful and resentful of other people, due to the severe early warp and rejection he encountered in important people of his infancy and childhood, as a rule, mainly in a schizophrenogenic mother” (Fromm-Reichman 1948). Three authors most identified with the maternal causation theory of schizophrenia are Bateson, Lidz, and Wynne (Bateson et al. 1956; Lidz et al. 1957; Wynne 1981). The context of the theory was the belief that early mother-child interactions exerted a primary and determining effect on later psychopathology. The Nazi atrocities of World War II (1939–1945) had...
- Parenting Style
- Family Therapy
- Causation Theory
- Parental Rear
- Early Life Event
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Bateson, G., Jackson, D. D., Haley, J., & Weakland, J. (1956). Toward a theory of schizophrenia. Behavioral Science, 1(4), 251–264.
Fromm-Reichman, F. (1948). Notes on the development of treatment of schizophrenics by psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Psychiatry, 11(3), 263–273.
Hartwell, C. E. (1996). The schizophrenogenic mother concept in American psychiatry. Psychiatry, 59(3), 274–297.
Howes, O. D., & Murray, R. M. (2014). Schizophrenia: An integrated sociodevelopmental-cognitive model. Lancet, 383(9929), 1677–1687.
Lidz, T., Cornelison, A. R., Fleck, S., & Terry, D. (1957). The intrafamilial environment of the schizophrenic patient. Psychiatry, 20(4), 329–350.
McFarlane, W. R. (2016). Family interventions for schizophrenia and the psychoses: A review. Family Process, 55(3), 460–482.
Morgan, C., & Fisher, H. (2007). Environment and schizophrenia: Environmental factors in schizophrenia: Childhood trauma – A critical review. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 33(1), 3–10.
Neill, J. (1990). Whatever became of the schizophrenogenic mother? American Journal of Psychotherapy, 44(4), 499–505.
Parker, G. (1982). Re-searching the schizophrenogenic mother. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 170(8), 452–462.
Wynne, L. C. (1981). Current concepts about schizophrenics and family relationships. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 169(2), 82–89.
Editors and Affiliations
Section Editor information
© 2016 Springer International Publishing AG
About this entry
Cite this entry
Seeman, M.V. (2016). Schizophrenogenic Mother. In: Lebow, J., Chambers, A., Breunlin, D. (eds) Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_482-1
Publisher Name: Springer, Cham
Online ISBN: 978-3-319-15877-8
eBook Packages: Springer Reference Behavioral Science and PsychologyReference Module Humanities and Social Sciences