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Schizophr Res. 2004 May 1;68(1):37-48.

Nonspecific and attenuated negative symptoms in patients at clinical high-risk for schizophrenia.

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  • 1Recognition and Prevention Program, Lake Success, NY 11042, USA.



Retrospective studies have shown that nonspecific psychopathology and negative symptoms, including social isolation and academic dysfunction, tend to precede onset of psychosis. The present report describes the baseline psychopathology of subjects in the Hillside Recognition and Prevention (RAP) Program, and presents an operationalized classification algorithm for the prospective study of both positive and negative symptoms of clinical high-risk (CHR) for schizophrenia.


Eighty-two adolescent and young adult patients were characterized using semi-structured interviews of both a parent informant and the patient. The Scale of Prodromal Symptoms (SOPS) was utilized to derive a three-part classification scheme: CHR- subjects (n=20) were defined as having at least one attenuated negative symptom with no positive symptoms; CHR+ subjects (n=42) were defined as having one or more attenuated positive symptoms without psychosis; schizophrenia-like psychosis (SLP) subjects (n=20) were defined as having a psychotic symptom, but without meeting criterion A, B, or C of DSM-IV schizophrenia.


Social isolation was the most common presenting symptom. The three RAP subgroups did not significantly differ in levels of attenuated negative and disorganized symptoms, despite the fact that these were not required for inclusion in the CHR+ and SLP groups. Common co-morbid diagnoses included major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and Cluster A personality disorders.


Negative symptoms and other nonspecific behavioral abnormalities represent clinically important phenomena in prodromal patients, and may provide insight into pathophysiologic mechanisms in schizophrenia and possible preventive interventions.

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