Nature vs. Nurture

I was at my S.z support group on Tuesday and this ponder has hit me even more.

A lot of the people in my support group have had abusive parents and a very traumatic childhood. I’ve also read of some very broken childhoods here as well. I admire you all for living through it and I wish it never happened to you all.

But one guy said that he was sure his parents couldn’t love him because they didn’t even love each other.

I know that many articles like to say it’s all Nurture. It’s all how you were raised. So according to all the theories of how you were raised, I shouldn’t have Sz at all. For me it has to be nature, because I was nurtured pretty well I think.

Am I that much of the odd man out on this one? My parents are still together and still like hanging out with each other. I grew up in a pretty stable home considering…

My parents never yelled at any of my siblings or I and none of us have ever been hit or verbally abused. They have been really supportive of all of us when they can and have tried to help all of us the best they can.

I was wondering… The theory of parents not loving each other causes them not to love the kids… does that ring true?

Just a ponder…

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From the reading I’ve done - if parents are in a marriage they are not happy with it causes them a lot of stress. Stress is bad for everyone - and when parents have it they automatically pass it on to their kids (if you’re stressed as a parent - you aren’t as present, positive, supportive and loving as you would be if you were not stressed) - and stress is even worse for children.

Of course stress is just one factor - there are many in all our lives that impact our mental health.

Thats my understanding on how it works


From personal experience, the spouses just hate each other not the kids. My dad is a divorce attorney and he says that once your divorced the other person is the last person you’d want around your kids.

I think other problems can arise in people even when the parents aren’t abusive. Your influences extend outside of your family. Also having a lack of crisis doesn’t prepare you for the future. Fortunately, we are all prepared.


well i was never hugged or kissed as a child, i wasnt really given that much love and i think it was to do with the fact that my mum was hard of hearing,

my mum and dad were always arguing but they always sorted it out, my dad was locked out a few times but managed to break back into the house smashing the window on the door to open it, despite this we were not a dysfunctional family growing up, we were poor but we had a good house, my mums cooking was terrible though and we frequently dumped our dinner in the bin.

if i was to pick one or the other or say which one i thought had the biggest effect on me i would say nurture over nature any day but even so i know my mum and dad tried their best bringing me up.


I think my parents loved each other until they divorced over an infidelity on my dad’s part…my brother and sister were much younger than me when they divorced and both were troubled more than myself because I was the only one besides my mother who knew what dad did…I became bitter against my father especially when mom and dad got back together a year later…if I was as wise as I am today looking back I wouldn’t have been so hard on my dad for my brother and sister’s sake…they needed my dad more than me but I was rebellious in my early teens until they finally split up again when I was 18. Was love a factor? Definitely…the more love you have in a family bond the better I say…

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Now that is something to ponder. I think children who are nurtured have a leg up in life from the get-go. But I also think that those who haven’t received proper nurturing sometimes develop coping skills that serve them well later in life.

My parents were not nurturing, my Mom was addicted to prescription drugs all her adult life, always “sick” from one thing or another, suffered from depression and pretty much just checked out as an interactive, loving parent. She was not mean though, thank goodness, was a major bookworm and spent most her waking hours reading on the sofa. Dad had a major drinking problem, provided well for us, but was an angry drunk after he got home from work and past the happy drunk stage. He traveled a lot and was never really involved in our lives.

So because of this, I always made it a point to be there for my kids emotionally and physically, went to every gymnastics event - son was on a competitive traveling gymnast team for 10 years, every school event for both kids, Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, made sure I always had a good meal cooking on the stove, loved nothing more than to hang out with them just talking, laughing, whatever. Loved kissing and hugging them, still do:) I was determined to not make the same mistakes my parents made. I think my upbringing gave me an overall determination in just about everything I did.

I can’t even imagine if I or one of my sibs had developed something as serious as sz, with the kind of parents we had. I’m pretty sure we would not have received proper care. My parents were not equipped to deal. And I’m sure there are plenty of people out there with sz who do not have loving, supportive families and it’s really sad to think about.

I do think parents who no longer love each other, 99% of the time still love their children to pieces.

But to answer your original question, I think it’s nature.


The. Feeling lost happens at a. Young age anyway love folks ofton fight just to make love there are only battles of thought that trighers. Fear.

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It’s rather outdated in the psychological community to attribute schizophrenia to nurture- it’s totally blamed as a genetic disaster these days. It is proven to be a neurological, not purely psychological disorder. Anorexia is a psychological and social disorder, for example. Schizophrenia is about hard wiring that is faulty- like broken hardware on a computer- it’s just wrong and screws everything up.

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Most brake happens at 20. But yea we feel bad


I agree with some of what you wrote, but I don’t think that there’s evidence to support the idea that schizophrenia is 100-percent genetic. If it were, the likelihood of an identical twin of a person with schizophrenia having the disorder would probably be right around 100 percent. Instead, the likelihood of an identical twin of a person with schizophrenia having the disorder is 48 percent, at least according to my old (1999) abnormal psychology textbook. Now, this figure of 48 percent is higher than the 17 percent likelihood of a non-identical twin of a person with schizophrenia having the disorder, which is one line of evidence to suggest that genetics does indeed play a role. But if environmental factors played no role in the development of schizophrenia, I think that the risk of an identical twin of someone with schizophrenia developing the disorder would be higher than 48 percent.


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My parents were pretty darned good, they just parted last year after 58 years together, true to their vows, “until death do us part”.

My brothers, their friends, my cousins, and a few adults were pretty abusive, but I wasn’t my parents fault as they couldn’t be with me 24/7 to protect me.

I say you can only nurture so much with what nature gave you.
Actually, more a third, it’s how your “hardwired” (genetics you can’t change), nature (the things you were born with that you have the ability to change), and nurture (the environment your surrounded with).

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Actually - science now says its both. We cover it in the linked article below - its both nature and nurture (but nurture includes everything from the environment in the womb - probably the most important factor in the “nurture side of things” - and on through life.).

This addresses some of these issues - a summary from a few of the specialists in the area:


Good ponder… Personally I think it can be a combination of things. The “right” combination of biological and environment. Just as we all have the possibilities of developing cancer since I do believe we all have the gene for it, yet other factors come into play on whether we develop it or not. Based on my own family history nature would play the bigger role.

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I don’t know what caused my break. My parents were loving but my brother was abusive to everyone around him. My parents eventually gave up trying to control him and let him do whatever he wanted. I was sexually abused when i was little by my father’s close friend. But it could also be nature since my dad has schizophrenia with manic depression and my mom is bipolar. My brother is bipolar with ADHD and autism. There was a lot of fighting going on between my parents and then my parents with my brother.

My mother in law thinks my illness is caused by bad parenting.

Well genes can be recessive, they can exist in an organism without being expressed, which explains why identical twins are about 50% and not 100%. For example, my father carried the genes for schizophrenia to me, but he doesn’t have any psychiatric disorders. You would think that if the genes are there, schizophrenia is too, but that’s just now how it works. For example, I come from a family of tall people with straight hair. I am 5’7 and have extremely curly hair. My genes for height and hair were also recessive- carried but not expressed in multiple generations. Same goes for my schizophrenia- two of my father’s cousins have it.

The latest research on schizophrenia has revealed that the disease is “traceable” back to childhood. Mild physical abnormalities are very common in people who later become schizophrenic (I have slight asymmetry of the face, my ears eyes and mouth), and usually the patient had slight schizotypal symptoms for years before the onset of active psychosis at around 18 (average age of onset). Genetics is quite confusing unless you have really been educated in how they work, I’m not trying to argue, I just learned all of this very recently in school as a psych major.

Basically, the developmental theories are obsolete these days due to scientists asking whether development (post-birth, sick mothers is a different story) mattered, and they really did a thorough job of clarifying whether the disorder is due to nurture or nature- and the majority of the studies concluded on it being due to nature. An example is physical abnormalities- a very strong correlation was found with schizophrenia and mild physical abnormalities (ex. slightly asymmetrical face, uneven length of limbs), and these abnormalities are present from birth and do not change as the individual ages and matures, they usually get worse.

However, this is all very recent, within a decade…so you’ve got to check sources very carefully, the DSM itself has recently been published in its 5th edition and there are some major changes.

There is even debate in the psychological community about psychosis running on a spectrum instead of being categorical- a hot topic, as some non-schizophrenic and non-schizotypal or non-schizoid people obviously harbor delusional beliefs and speak of hallucinations now and then. Just look at those Baptists who speak in tongues and basically go “crazy” in church on Sundays. Something strange and possibly slightly psychotic is going on in those people.

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Bad parenting was shot down way before I was born.


I HATE when they say it’s all bad parenting. Because my parents are both teachers and very good with kids.

I remember lots of hugs, lots of care, lots of encouragement. So I should be perfectly normal right?

Also, I might add that I am a perfect example for the case for nurture- I was molested, nearly drowned in the ocean, was bullied and subject to brainwash by the time I was 10 years old. After that, my life only got worse with more bullying and trauma and identity problems. I could go on and on about how well I qualify for the nurture argument. However, I have even stronger evidence for nature- I have mild physical abnormalities, have always been neurotic and had some sort of psychological disorder (the final exam in Abnormal Psych. was like answering questions about my life so far, LOL), Schizophrenia runs on the paternal side of my family, I exhibited paranoia and delusional thinking as a child, ect.

I personally know and am good friends with people my age who have been traumatized, and they have sound minds. If schizophrenia was due to nurture, my good friend who was immediately given an open-heart surgery when he was born and has had multiple more since then who has a pacemaker would definitely be psychotic as all hell, but he’s very sound, he is an Emergency Medical Technician and is studying nursing. He also has the broken dreams thing that I do, in fact the exact same one- before his second heart surgery as a teenager, he wanted to be a military officer. I wanted nothing for from life except the privilege to become a Navy SEAL and have their trident tattoo’d on my arm before I became psychotic. We identify on that shared broken dream, and now we have similar paths in front of us- he is studying nursing while working as an EMT and I am in the honors psych program with the intent of getting a masters and working in a mental hospital.


You wrote that genetics can be confusing to those who “aren’t educated” in how they work, and I would agree that the better educated one is on genetics, the better of a position that person is to make sense of genetics research data. I only have two bachelor’s degrees, one of which is in psychology and the other of which is in a non-science field, and I will say that somebody with a degree in something like biology would be in a far better position than me to comment on what the data on the heritability of schizophrenia mean. I will say, and I mean no offense by this, that your understanding of genetics does seem to be limited, judging by what you’ve written about recessive genes. Identical twins share recessive genes. If schizophrenia were a purely genetic recessive trait, then the likelihood that an identical twin of someone with schizophrenia would develop the disorder himself or herself would still be 100 percent or very close to it, just as the likelihood of an identical twin of someone with blue eyes (a known recessive trait) also having blue eyes is, I believe, close to 100 percent. I know that much, even though I will certainly acknowledge that I’m far from being an expert on the matter.

What the experts do seem to say is what SzAdmin wrote in his post: that both nature and nurture contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Did you read the link in his post? If so, what did you think of it? I’m quite aware of what you wrote about the mild physical abnormalities that seem to be common in children who go on to develop schizophrenia. And I can see how one could say that based on these abnormalities, schizophrenia would appear to be genetic. However, as SzAdmin pointed out, there is evidence that environmental, non-genetic factors in the womb may contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Now again, I’m not an expert, but I think it makes sense that if an environmental, non-genetic factor in the womb might play a role in the development of schizophrenia that it might also explain some of the physical abnormalities that you made reference to in your post. I’m not saying that genetics doesn’t play a factor in the development of schizophrenia, but unless you have some convincing evidence that schizophrenia is purely genetic, I think that it would made sense to listen to what most experts who study schizophrenia have to say about genes and environment both playing a role.


For me, speaking as a person with severe mental illness but not schizophrenia . On one hand i think i had an inborn propensity for problems(nature) but it took environmental factors to trigger full blown mental illness(bullying, dysfunctional though not extremely abusive upbringing). There were mild indicators of mental health problems within the family history but nothing to indicate a major genetic load.

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