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J Psychiatr Res. 2004 Jul-Aug;38(4):417-24.

Comparison of characteristics between geriatric and younger subjects with schizophrenia in community.

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Institute of Mental Health, West China Hospital, West China Medical School of Sichuan University, China.


Relatively little is known about the different characteristics of non-institutionalized geriatric and younger subjects with schizophrenia. This study compared demographic and clinical characteristics of all the geriatric, middle-age and young subjects with schizophrenia living in a Chinese rural community. Geriatric (age >/= 65 years) (N = 51), middle-age (age 41-64 years) (N = 263) and young subjects with schizophrenia (age 15-40 years) (N = 196) in a rural community were assessed with the Present State Examination and Social Disability Screening Schedule. Age at first onset was significantly older in geriatric male and female groups. While there were no significant differences of negative symptoms among the three groups, the rates of lifetime nuclear syndrome were significantly lower in geriatric subjects compared to the other two groups. Geriatric subjects were less likely to have been hospitalized (9.8%) than middle-age (19.0%) and younger subjects (24.8%). Although the duration of illness was significantly longer in geriatric subjects than in the other two groups, the clinical outcome was significantly better in the geriatric group and social functioning scores were similar among the three groups. Geriatric subjects were more likely to be female, with longer duration of illness, fewer "core" symptoms, relatively stable social functioning and clinical outcome. The pathogenesis and psychopathology of geriatric subjects may be different compared to younger subjects with schizophrenia.

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