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Eur Psychiatry. 2001 Sep;16(6):342-8.

Season of birth, gender and negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.


The aim of this study was to ascertain whether the symptom profile distinguishes between schizophrenic patients born in the winter and early spring and those born in other seasons. The sample consisted of 204 patients with a DSM-III-R diagnosis of schizophrenia who had been hospitalized for acute psychotic decompensation. Symptom ratings were based on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). The use of demographic and anamnestic data as dependent variables did not detect any season-of-birth effect. In contrast, clear gender-specific differences emerged from the comparison focusing on symptom dimensions and clinical subtype. Female patients born in the winter and early spring had higher scores on the PANSS negative scale and anergia factor whereas male patients born in other seasons had higher scores on the PANSS anergia factor. In addition, we found a gender-specific association between season of birth and clinical subtype. Most paranoid female patients were born in the non-winter months whereas, among men, a slightly higher percentage of paranoid patients were born in winter months. These results suggest that gender plays a role in modulating the effect of the season of birth on symptoms of schizophrenia.

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