Residual performance deficit in clinically remitted schizophrenics: A marker of schizophrenia?

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The study of remitted schizophrenic outpatients is proposed as a way of minimizing the effects of the “nuisance variables” that confound the study of hospitalized schizophrenics. 20 hospitalized acutely disturbed schizophrenics (mean age, 37.0 yrs), 20 schizophrenic outpatients in clinical remission (mean age, 42.8 yrs) and 20 normal controls (mean age, 35.1 yrs) were administered a span of apprehension test and the Continuous Performance Test (CPT). All Ss were controlled for sex and WAIS scores and schizophrenics were rated with Phillips Prognostic Rating Scale. On the CPT, both acute and remitted schizophrenics made significantly more errors of omission and commission than did the normal controls. On the span of apprehension, both groups of schizophrenics showed a significantly greater decrement in accuracy of detection of the target stimuli than did normal controls. The same pattern of results has been observed in children at risk for schizophrenia, which suggests that the span of apprehension may be sensitive to core schizophrenic processes that are independent of clinical state. The cross-sectional study of the 3 stages of schizophrenia–the premorbid, acute, and remitted–is proposed as a way of identifying “core” schizophrenic processes and markers of vulnerability to schizophrenia. The adequacy of a general “attentional impairment” interpretation of schizophrenic deficit is questioned. (43 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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