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Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Oct;155(10):1358-64.

Are there sex differences in neuropsychological functions among patients with schizophrenia?

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Harvard Institute of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Genetics, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston 02115, USA.



Studies of sex differences in neuropsychological performance in schizophrenia report inconsistent results, due in part to methodological artifacts. The study presented here was specifically designed to examine sex differences in neuropsychological performance. It was hypothesized that schizophrenic women would exhibit fewer neuropsychological deficits than schizophrenic men and that their performance would be more similar to that of normal women than schizophrenic men's performance would be to that of normal men.


Thirty-one outpatients with DSM-III-R-defined schizophrenia were systematically sampled from an extensive service network serving a large urban catchment area for seriously mentally ill persons. Twenty-seven normal comparison subjects were matched within sex on the basis of age, parental socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and handedness. An extensive neuropsychological test battery was administered, and multivariate analysis of variance was used to test for the effects of sex and group and sex-by-group interactions.


Male patients were significantly impaired across all functions in comparison with normal male subjects and on tests of attention, verbal memory, and executive functions in comparison with female patients. Female patients performed significantly worse than female normal comparison subjects only on tests of attention, executive functions, visual memory, and motor functions.


The findings suggest that women with schizophrenia may be less vulnerable to particular cognitive deficits, especially those involving verbal processing, than schizophrenic men.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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