Longitudinal Social Competence and Adult Psychiatric Symptoms at First Hospitalization

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Abstract

Patterns of psychiatric symptoms of 141 patients at first hospital admission were correlated with social competence, as measured in childhood from school records and in adulthood by the Index of Social Competence, which is based on hospital records. Results confirmed the hypothesis that low social competence is associated with the more disintegrative symptoms of withdrawal, thought disorder, and antisocial acting out, but this conclusion held only when the measure of social competence was based upon adult premorbid behavior. A longitudinal perspective on social competence did not improve upon the symptomatic discrimination based on adult cross-sectional assessment alone, except that a cluster of schizoid symptoms (apathy, flat affect, hallucinations, resentfulness, and verbal hostility) was significantly associated with a longitudinal measure of social competence, though not with either cross-sectional measure by itself. Positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, and other florid processes) appeared not to be part of a longstanding, longitudinal process, but the negative symptoms included in the withdrawal cluster showed some association with childhood behavior.

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