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Schizophr Res. 2003 Sep 1;63(1-2):89-95.

Sex differences in symptoms of psychosis in a non-selected, general population sample.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, azM/Mondriaan/Riagg/RIBW/Vijverdal Academic Centre, European Graduate School of Neuroscience, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616 (DRT 10), 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Little is known about sex differences in psychosis beyond the borders of clinical disorder.


A general population sample of 7,076 subjects was assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, in order to explore sex differences in the prevalence of any positive and negative symptoms of psychosis, and to examine to what degree any differences could be explained by differences in level of affective symptoms.


Male sex was associated with higher prevalence of negative symptoms (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.0, 2.5), independent of differences in affective symptoms and presence of DSM-III-R psychotic disorder. Women had higher rates of positive psychotic experiences (OR = 0.8, 95% CI = 0.7, 0.9), but this difference disappeared after adjustment for depressive symptoms (adjusted OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 0.9, 1.5).


The sex differences in psychopathology that are seen in schizophrenia are expressed beyond the clinical phenotype, suggesting sex-dependent continuous and normal variation of several psychosis dimensions. The higher rates of positive psychotic experiences seen in women may be secondary to differences in the rate of affective symptoms.

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