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Schizophr Res. 2001 Mar 1;47(2-3):223-32.

Familiality of symptom dimensions in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8A, UK.


The division of schizophrenic symptoms into three core dimensions - psychomotor poverty, reality distortion, and disorganisation - is well established. When factor analytic studies have included affective symptoms they have identified two additional dimensions - manic and depressive. Whether these five dimensions represent underlying psychopathology of a genetic or environmental aetiology remains unclear. The aims of this study were to perform factor analysis of symptoms in a group of familial schizophrenic patients and to investigate the familiality of the symptom dimensions identified, and their relationship to clinical characteristics. Symptoms were recorded, using the Operational Criteria Checklist for Psychotic Illness, for 155 Caucasian subjects with an RDC diagnosis of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or psychosis of unknown origin, from 61 families multiply affected with schizophrenia. Factor analysis indicated five symptom dimensions: depressive, manic, reality distortion, disorganisation, and psychomotor poverty. The psychomotor poverty, disorganisation, and manic dimensions were shown to be familial. Psychomotor poverty, disorganisation, and reality distortion were all associated with deterioration from premorbid functioning and chronic course of the disorder. In addition, psychomotor poverty was significantly related to poor premorbid functioning, as well as to single marital status and unemployment at onset. Disorganisation was significantly related to single marital status and unemployment at onset. The familiality of the psychomotor poverty, disorganisation, and manic dimensions supports their use in the delineation of homogeneous subsets for genetic studies.

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