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Biol Psychiatry. 2001 Sep 15;50(6):434-40.

Concurrent validation of schizotaxia: a pilot study.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Harvard Medical School, 74 Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Many first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia show deficits in clinical, neuropsychological, neurobiological and social domains, in the absence of psychosis. We recently reformulated Meehl's concept of schizotaxia to conceptualize the liability to schizophrenia, and we proposed preliminary criteria based on the presence of negative symptoms and neuropsychological deficits. Here we investigate the concurrent validity of schizotaxia by comparing a group of subjects who met criteria for schizotaxia with a group who did not on independent measures of clinical function, and on lifetime rates of selected comorbid psychiatric disorders.


Twenty-seven adults who were first-degree, biological relatives of patients with schizophrenia were evaluated for schizotaxia based on our predetermined criteria involving negative symptoms and neuropsychological deficits. Subjects also received portions of the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies, the Structured Interview for Schizotypy, the Family Interview for Genetic Studies, the DSM-IV Global Assessment of Functioning, the Physical Anhedonia Scale, the Social Adjustment Scale and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised. Subjects who met criteria for schizotaxia were compared with those who did not on each of the clinical measures, and on their rates of comorbid DSM-IV psychiatric diagnoses.


Eight subjects met criteria for schizotaxia, and 19 did not. Subjects with schizotaxia showed significantly lower levels of function on each of the clinical scales. Differences in comorbid psychiatric diagnoses were not significant, although the rate of lifetime substance abuse diagnoses in the schizotaxic group (50%) approached levels that are often seen in schizophrenia.


These findings provide the first evidence of concurrent validation for a proposed syndrome of schizotaxia. They are also consistent with the view that the vulnerability to schizophrenia may be defined, at least partially, although larger studies to assess both the concurrent and predictive validity of schizotaxia will be required to confirm these results.

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