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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2012 Oct;126(4):256-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2012.01846.x. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Parsing the components of the psychomotor syndrome in schizophrenia.

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Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute, University of Antwerp, Belgium.



Catatonia, extrapyramidal signs, psychomotor slowing, and (motoric) neurological soft signs are well-known psychomotor symptoms in schizophrenia. This study aims at investigating the interrelations between these symptoms. In addition, associations between psychomotor symptoms, clinical symptoms, and cognitive functioning will be studied.


An extensive test battery containing psychomotor (Bush Francis Catatonia Rating Scale; St Hans Rating Scale; Salpêtrière Retardation Rating Scale; Neurological Evaluation Scale) and clinical (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale; Calgary Depression Scale) rating scales as well as instrumental psychomotor tests (Line Copying Task; Finger Tapping Task) and cognitive tasks (Symbol Digit Substitution Test; Stroop Colour Word Test; Continuous Performance Test; Letter Number Sequencing) was administered to a sample of 124 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.


Correlational analyses showed that two clusters emerge from our data: first, a psychomotor poverty cluster referring to the interrelations between catatonia, parkinsonism, psychomotor slowing, and negative symptoms; second, a cluster containing motoric neurological soft signs, which were found to be correlated with cognitive functioning.


Psychomotor abnormalities are highly prevalent phenomena in schizophrenia that have to be considered as a heterogeneous construct. However, longitudinal and neurobiological research is needed to further explore the precise nature of the interrelations found in this study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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