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Psychiatry Res. 1999 Dec 27;89(3):147-59.

Attentional deficits in patients with schizophrenia and in their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.

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Department of Psychiatry, BP 217, Grenoble, France.


The aim of this study was to investigate whether non-psychotic relatives of schizophrenic probands have deficits in sustained attention as measured by the Continuous Performance Test, Identical Pairs version (CPT-IP) and whether such deficits are associated with negative schizotypal personality disorders. The study subjects were 23 schizophrenic probands, 45 of their first-degree relatives and 36 normal controls. For each subject, attention was assessed during five conditions (2 standard, 2 slow, 1 easy) of visual stimuli (numbers and shapes). Schizotypy status was determined with the physical anhedonia and social anhedonia scales of Chapman et al. (Chapman, L.J., Chapman, J.P., Raulin, M.L., 1976. Scales for physical and social anhedonia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 42, 374-382). The CPT-IP sensitive index d' in the standard shape condition was significantly lower in schizophrenics and in their relatives than in controls. For all d' values, the percentage of impaired first-degree relatives was at an intermediate level between patients and control individuals. Furthermore, the schizophrenic probands made more random errors in the standard and in the slow number conditions than the other two groups. None of the schizotypy measures correlated with the CPT-IP deficits. These results suggest that spatial sustained attention deficit may be a vulnerability marker for schizophrenia; however, this deficit and the negative dimension of schizotypal personality disorders may be distinct traits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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