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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1993 Nov;32(6):1229-36.

Persistent emotional disorder in children with neurological soft signs.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.



This paper provides clinical details in the form of case vignettes from a prospective epidemiological study that found the combination of childhood "soft" signs and anxious behavior to be a strong risk factor for adolescent emotional disorders.


The original study conducted a neuropsychiatric assessment of adolescents who had been followed through childhood.


The at-risk subjects are shown to exhibit a persistent and specific pattern of both motor abnormalities and anxiety, obsessional compulsive, or depressive symptoms over time.


The form of their neurological and psychiatric abnormalities is consistent with neuropsychiatric research linking motor system abnormalities to emotional disorders. It is recommended that children who present with anxious and depressive symptoms be examined for motor soft signs.

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