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Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Mar;158(3):492-4.

Is substance abuse in schizophrenia related to impulsivity, sensation seeking, or anhedonia?

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  • 1Service Hospitalo-Universitaire de Santé Mentale et Thérapeutique, Université René Descartes, Paris, France.



The authors compared impulsivity, sensation seeking, and anhedonia in a group of schizophrenic patients with and without lifetime substance abuse or dependence.


Patients (N=100) with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (per DSM-III-R criteria) were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview's section on psychoactive substance use disorder, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, the Barratt Impulsivity Scale, the Zuckerman Seeking Sensation Scale, and the Chapman Physical Anhedonia Scale.


The mean scores for impulsivity and sensation seeking were higher in the group with substance abuse (N=41) than in the group without substance abuse (N=59). No significant difference between groups was found regarding physical anhedonia.


As in the general population, high levels of impulsivity and sensation seeking are associated with substance abuse in patients with schizophrenia.

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