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Best Texts for Teaching About Schizophrenia?

By Hakon Heimer Posted on 13 Jan 2017

Bookdrop InlineWe imagine this is a common question that lecturers ask themselves when preparing to teach a lecture or module on schizophrenia for undergraduate or graduate students. You want something appropriate for the academic level and backgrounds of the students, and probably need something a bit shorter than one of the recent textbooks on the subject (e.g., Weinberger and Harrison, 2011, or Lieberman et al., 2011).

Angelica Ronald of the University of London stimulated the discussion with this request:

"I am seeking recommendations for a book, book chapter, or journal review on schizophrenia for psychology students taking a “psychobiology” undergraduate course. Ideally, it would be up-to-date on developments such as molecular genetics findings and neurobiology, but at a level that is interpretable for undergraduate students in their first and second years without clinical, biology, or genetics backgrounds. It would also ideally offer something for students of all levels. The reading list can include multiple sources, though cannot be too drawn out since there is only one lecture on schizophrenia in the course. Many thanks in advance for any suggestions!"

On this editor's bookshelf, there are a couple of older books that, while not up-to-date in terms of the latest research, I still lend out to friends who want an overview of the disorder: Johnstone and Frith's 2003 Schizophrenia: A Very Short Introduction, and Gottesman's classic, Schizophrenia Genesis: The Origins of Madness.

Please offer your suggestions for review papers, books, or other materials appropriate for Dr. Ronald's undergraduates and any other advice you have on teaching about schizophrenia. Please make suggestions based on your teaching experience, and don't vote for your own texts!

Image by Mark A. Hicks

Last comment on 23 Nov 2017 by Krzysztof Mass


Submitted by Anna Need on

I have been recommending this a lot recently―an accessible but comprehensive and up-to-date review:

Owen MJ, Sawa A, Mortensen PB
Lancet. 2016 Jan 14. PMID: 26777917. Pubmed

Submitted by Alexandra Pentaraki on

I recommend the following book and paper, as the book provides a very good overview of the neuropsychology of schizophrenia, while the paper is a family study of Theory of Mind in schizophrenia.

1. David, AS, Cutting, JC. (1994). The neuropsychology of schizophrenia. In Based on papers presented at an international symposium on the neuropsychology of schizophrenia held at U London, Inst of Psychiatry, London, England, Oct, 1991.. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

2. Theory of Mind as a potential trait marker of schizophrenia: a family study.
Pentaraki AD, Stefanis NC, Stahl D, Theleritis C, Toulopoulou T, Roukas D, Kaliora SC, Chatzimanolis I, Smyrnis N, Russell T, et al.
Cogn Neuropsychiatry. 2012; 17(1):64-89. PMID: 22216944. 2221p. 6944. Pubmed

Kind Regards,


Submitted by Sohee Park on

I teach an undergraduate course on schizophrenia every year. I use all journal articles except for the first four chapters from the classic Gottesman book on Day 1. If you are interested in the syllabus, please email me.  

If I have to give just one class within someone else's clinical psychology course or biological basis of mental illness course, I started to use a review paper from family medicine.

Holder S, Wayhs A (2014) Schizophrenia. Am Fam Physician. 90(11):775-782.

Schizophrenia: a review.
Schultz SH, North SW, Shields CG
Am Fam Physician. 2007 Jun 15; 75(12):1821-9. PMID: 17619525. Pubmed

Submitted by Angelica Ronald on

Thank you to everyone for these very helpful and diverse suggestions! Much appreciated!

Submitted by Richard Noll on

I would enthusiastically suggest Tanya Luhrmann's recent edited volume (Our Most Troubling Madness) for a superb ethnographic view of people with schizophrenia.  

Submitted by Krzysztof Mass on

Most of you have probably heard about "Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual," by E. Fuller Torrey. It's a classic but, in my opinion, still worth reading.