Schizoid personality disorder is a condition characterized by a lack of emotion, an apparent indifference toward other people and a tendency to avoid social situations. Exact schizoid personality disorder causes are unknown, though many scientists agree that schizoid personality traits most likely develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Schizoid Personality Disorder and the Schizophrenic Spectrum
A person with schizoid personality traits tends to be uninterested in social relationships and usually avoids large groups. Schizoid personality disorder is on the schizophrenic spectrum, meaning that it shares several symptoms with schizophrenia. However, people with schizoid personality disorder don’t experience the delusions and paranoia commonly associated with schizophrenia.
Genetics and Personality
As is the case with many mental illnesses, genetics may be one of several schizoid personality disorder causes. If one or both parents exhibit schizoid personality traits, their child has a greater chance of also developing schizoid personality disorder.
Schizoid personality disorder is also more likely if one or both parents have illnesses anywhere on the schizophrenic spectrum (including conditions like schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder), according to the Mayo Clinic (2008). However, the precise relationship between genetics and personality isn’t clear.
Other Causes of Schizoid Personality Disorder
Environmental factors–particularly in early childhood–may help shape the development of schizoid personality disorder. People with schizoid personality disorder may come from families that were emotionally reserved and communicated in an impersonal style. In particular, children who receive enough love and attention during their first year of life are more likely to develop close, meaningful relationships when they get older.
People with schizoid personality disorder tend to imitate the communication styles of adults in their lives. In an emotionally stilted family environment, children generally don’t learn how to communicate effectively or to show affection. As adults, they aren’t interested in forming social connections or entering into loving relationships.
Individuals with schizoid personality disorder may be deeply sensitive. Someone who is extremely thin-skinned in early adolescence may develop the disorder as a way of coping when her needs are ignored or treated with contempt.
Other factors that might be causes of schizoid personality disorder include:
- Being abused or mistreated as a child
- Experiencing an environment of neglect or scorn as a child
- Having a parent who is emotionally detached.
Encyclopedia of Mental Health. (2010). Schizoid personality disorder. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.minddisorders.com/Py-Z/Schizoid-personality-disorder.html
Grohol, J. M. (2010). Schizoid personality disorder. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx30.htm
Mayo Clinic. (2008). Schizoid personality disorder. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/schizoid-personality-disorder/DS00865