Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Psychiatry. 2008 May;165(5):579-87. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2008.07081242. Epub 2008 Apr 15.

Premorbid IQ in schizophrenia: a meta-analytic review.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass, USA.



Over the past three decades, there have been significant changes in the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia as well as changes in measurement of IQ. The last quantitative review of the literature on premorbid IQ in schizophrenia was published more than two decades ago. Since that time, there have been many published studies of data sets pertaining to this issue. The purpose of the present review was to provide an updated meta-analysis of premorbid IQ in individuals who later develop schizophrenia.


The authors performed a systematic literature search, which yielded 18 studies that met criteria for the meta-analysis. Inclusion criteria were 1) premorbid psychometric measures of IQ in subjects who were later diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophreniform disorder, 2) similar comparison data, and 3) sufficient data for calculation of an effect size. The analogue to the analysis of variance method was used to model between-study variance due to key study-design features.


Overall, schizophrenia samples demonstrated a reliable, medium-sized impairment in premorbid IQ. The heterogeneity of effect sizes was minimal and almost exclusively the result of one study. Methodological differences, such as diagnostic criteria, type of IQ measure, sample ascertainment, and age at premorbid testing, contributed minimally to the effect size variance. A cross-sectional analysis of all studies by age and a descriptive review of studies that used repeated measures of IQ in a single sample did not support the presence of a relative decline in IQ during the premorbid period in individuals with schizophrenia. However, all studies with pre- and post-onset testing within the same sample suggested that a significant decline in the IQ of individuals with schizophrenia, relative to comparison subjects, was associated with the onset of frank psychosis.


Years before the onset of psychotic symptoms, individuals with schizophrenia, as a group, demonstrate mean IQ scores approximately one-half of a standard deviation below that of healthy comparison subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center