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Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health. 2014 May 23;8:16. doi: 10.1186/1753-2000-8-16. eCollection 2014.

Catatonic features in adolescents with schizophrenia with and without a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder.

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  • 1Institute of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 9, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki University, PO Box 3, 00014 Helsinki, Finland ; Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Kellokoski Hospital, 04500 Kellokoski, Finland.
  • 3Department of Adolescent Psychiatry, Kellokoski Hospital, 04500 Kellokoski, Finland.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki University Central Hospital, PO Box 442, 00029 HUS Helsinki, Finland.



Catatonia has been associated with both schizophrenia and pervasive developmental disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate catatonic features among adolescents suffering from schizophrenia. Further, we compared these features between adolescents with a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder and those without one. Finally, we wanted to compare the profile of catatonia-like features of our schizophrenia patients to that described earlier among persons with autism spectrum disorders.


The study comprised a consecutive sample of 18 adolescents with schizophrenia (mean age 15.6 years, SD 1.4) and their families. Diagnosis of schizophrenia was assessed with the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Aged Children - Present and Life-Time (K-SADS-PL) for the DSM-IV. The Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders version 11 was used to assess catatonic features.


All adolescents with schizophrenia had showed some lifetime catatonic features. Approximately 78% of them had already expressed these features before the age of 10. The number of catatonic features before the age of 10 was significantly higher among the adolescents with a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder compared to those without one. The numbers of catatonic features after the age of 10 did not significantly differ between the two groups. Over three-quarters of schizophrenia patients shared four lifetime catatonic features: "lacks facial expression", "odd intonation", "poor eye contact" and "lack of cooperation".


Adolescent schizophrenia patients with a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder show many catatonic features in childhood whereas those without one seem to develop these features first in adolescence. Catatonic features exhibited by adolescents with schizophrenia resemble those described among persons with pervasive developmental disorders without schizophrenia.


Adolescence; Catatonia; Pervasive developmental disorder; Schizophrenia

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