Anxiety symptoms in schizophrenia spectrum disorders: associations with social function, positive and negative symptoms, hope and trauma history

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ObjectiveAnxiety is commonly observed in schizophrenia, but its relationship with other features of illness is unclear.MethodWe examined correlations between measures of anxiety, positive and negative symptoms, hope, psychosocial function and trauma history among 128 participants with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Cluster analyses were conducted to determine whether we could detect a subgroup with severe anxiety.ResultsHigher levels of anxiety were associated with greater hallucinations, withdrawal, depression, hopelessness, better insight and poorer function. Cluster analyses produced three groups according to anxiety level: subclinical anxiety (n = 37), moderate anxiety (n = 55) and severe anxiety (n = 36). ANOVA revealed that the severe anxiety group had more severe hallucinations, poorer psychosocial function and less hope than either of the other two groups. Self-report of sexual trauma predicted higher levels of anxiety overall.ConclusionA subgroup of persons with severe anxiety may be identifiable in schizophrenia with a unique clinical profile.

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