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Schizophr Bull. 1997;23(1):105-17.

The long-term course of childhood-onset schizophrenia: a 42-year followup.

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  • 1University of Essen, Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Germany.


This article presents results of a 42-year long-term followup of 44 patients (19 males, 25 females) with childhood-onset schizophrenia. Age at onset ranged from 6 to 14 years (mean =11.8 years). The patients and their first-degree relatives were interviewed in 1994, 27 years after the first followup, by the same investigator with the Present-State Examination (PSE) and the Disability Assessment Schedule. The clinical records were analyzed with the Instrument for the Retrospective Assessment of Onset of Schizophrenia and with sections of the PSE. The cases were rediagnosed according to DSM-III-R, based on longitudinal data obtained between onset and the first hospital admission. Although cumulative prevalence is earlier in females than in males, no gender differences exist in average age at onset. An acute onset was significantly more frequent after 12 years of age. An early age at onset was correlated with high social disability scores. Of the patients, 25 percent were completely, 25 percent partially, and 50 percent were poorly remitted at the second followup. None of the patients with chronic onset remitted completely. The results are discussed with respect to epidemiology, gender differences, and etiological hypotheses of childhood schizophrenia.

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