EARLY SYMPTOMS AND BEHAVIOR OF MALE SCHIZOPHRENICS, DELINQUENT CHARACTER-DISORDERED INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIALLY ADEQUATE SUBJECTS


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Abstract

This study compares the premorbid symptoms and behaviors of 30 chronic schizophrenics, 30 released schizophrenics, 32 delinquent character-disordered individuals and 30 socially adequate subjects. The subjects were 122 males treated in childhood or adolescence at the Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston. Placement in the chronic or released group depended on whether the subject was still in the hospital as of July, 1965, or living in the community. Hospital diagnoses were used for placement in the schizophrenic and character-disordered groups. Work and interpersonal adjustment determined placement in the socially adequate group. Data were gathered from the case histories of the Guidance Center by means of a data schedule which was suitable for IBM analysis. In the case records, two raters established satisfactory reliability of judgment on all the variables investigated. Judgments were made without knowledge of the adult diagnoses of the cases.The general hypothesis was that the childhood behavior differed for the four groups, with schizophrenics expected to reveal more signs of disturbance than either character-disordered or socially adequate subjects. Four out of six specific hypotheses were supported by the data. The major conclusions were as follows.1) Schizophrenics, particularly chronic schizophrenics, reveal more neurotic symptoms during childhood, accompanied by a greater tendency to withdraw and deal with experiences of conflict and anxiety by restriction of ego functions. The released schizophrenics manifested a wider range of adaptive behavior than the chronic group, but a somewhat less wide range than the character-disordered group. Chronic subjects frequently revealed “stormy eruptions” similar to those described for children in the character-disordered group. Contrary to prediction, they had more indications of enuresis than those with character disorders.2) Character-disordered subjects reveal a wider range of acting out behavior in the community, more aggressive tendencies and fewer neurotic symptoms during childhood than either schizophrenic or socially adequate subjects. They reveal signs of health similar to those of the socially adequate group, but also specific factors related to acting out disturbances during childhood.3) Socially adequate subjects reveal more signs of health with regard to early adjustment.

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