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IQ in childhood psychiatric attendees predicts outcome of later schizophrenia at 21 year follow-up

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Objective: Preschizophrenic children who merit psychiatric referral are claimed to have a particularly malevolent illness when the psychosis develops later. The 21 years outcome of a sample of such children was investigated.

Method: Fifty-one children who attended psychiatric services, and were later diagnosed as having schizophrenia, were followed up a mean of 21 years later. Baseline childhood demographic, clinical and putative aetiological characteristics were identified from the case notes. Follow-up assessment evaluated clinical symptoms, social functioning and service utilization. The predictive value of baseline factors on outcome was examined.

Results: Outcome was poor, and seven (14%) of the subjects were deceased. Childhood IQ was strongly predictive of social outcome (F=5.1, P=0.01) and service utilization (F=5.2, P=0.01), but not clinical symptoms. No other factors predicted outcome.

Conclusion: Low childhood IQ had an unfavourable impact on social outcome and service utilization once schizophrenia developed.
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Keywords: follow-up studies; intelligence; schizophrenia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, UK, 2: Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Addenbrokes Hospital, Cambridge, UK

Publication date: 01 August 2002

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