Representations of the parental family in patients with schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia



The article presents research findings on the perceptions of the parental family in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders. The study was based on the four aspect model of the family system, developed by A.B. Kholmogorova (2011). The structural and dynamic characteristics of parental families (family representations) were studied using self-report methods. Significant differences were found in a number of parameters. For example, closed external borders and numerous coalitions (primarily between mother and child) were found in families of patients with schizophrenia both before and after the manifestation of the disorder. At the same time, strong connections between all members of the family are seen in patients with schizoaffective disorders (as opposed to coalitions), while excessive impermeability of external borders is seen only after the manifestation of the disorder. It is shown that as compared to patients with schizophrenia, the family system of those with schizoaffective disorder is closer to the system of healthy patients and is less dysfunctional both before and after the manifestation of the disorder. The authors conclude that there is a difference in the psychosocial contexts of the onset and course of different schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

General Information

Keywords: schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, four-aspect model of the family system, family system, family dysfunctions, family structure, family microdynamics, family macrodynamics, family ideology, The Family System Test Thomas M. Gehring

Journal rubric: Empirical Researches

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Konovalova A., Kholmogorova A.B., Dolnykova A. Representations of the parental family in patients with schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2013. Vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 70–95. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Anastasiya Konovalova, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Alla B. Kholmogorova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Dean of the Faculty of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Leading Researcher, Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry (A Branch of the National Medical Research Centre for Psychiatry and Narcology), Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Alexandra Dolnykova, Researcher, Laboratory of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, State Research Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry named after V.P. Serbsky, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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