By Vanessa Taylor, June 05, 2011
There are a number of different research methods used in psychology, but one of the most interesting to the layperson is the case study. Case studies are in-depth investigations of an individual, examining them over a long period of time (what is known as a longitudinal study). There are many case studies of people with schizophrenia available on the Internet--a Google search will turn up a number of them, and you can also find some interesting ones at http://www.psyweb.com/Casestudies/CaseStudies.jsp
Case studies are often used to help researchers come up with new hypotheses, challenge existing hypotheses by showing an instance where they don’t hold true, or take existing ideas a step further with an in-depth analysis of a situation. Unlike research studies that control and manipulate specific variables in a clinical setting, case studies more directly relate to real-life experiences and the format in which they are written tends to be more accessible to the general public. They can really help readers to understand how schizophrenia can affect a person’s life.
Informal case studies on schizophrenia can also be found--autobiographies written by schizophrenic individuals, such as the classic Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl, and films like A Beautiful Mind, for example (although it’s important to keep in mind that movies tend to be a bit sensationalized for effect).
CASE STUDY PARANOID SCHIZOPHRENIA 3 Valerie married when she was 28 years old, the beginning of the marriage was good, and they like most married couples were planning their future and what they wanted to do with it, such as children and where to live. At first her husband did want a family and had agreed early on that they could live anywhere other than California (Groundwater, 2007). Two things happened to cause the break in the happiness, one was they did not leave California and the second being that her husband did not want a family. Things began to go downhill. The beginnings of her mental illness were a gradual climb, she stated that the onset of her mental illness began in her late twenties; she had been hospitalized at least ten times and had many episodes of terror and fear. Her first episode was a belief that there were people trying to destroy her church community, she was at this time deeply unhappy in her marriage and because of religious beliefs, did not believe in divorce (Groundwater, 2007).