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Validity of childhood disintegrative psychosis: General findings of a long-term follow-up study

  • Svend Erik Mouridsen (a1), Bente Rich (a2) and Torben Isager (a3)

Abstract

Background

Empirical evidence for the validity of the diagnostic label ‘disintegrative psychosis' is sparse. The issue of whether it is a separate form of infantile autism is unresolved.

Method

To investigate the validity of disintegrative psychosis as defined in ICD–9, the natural history of 13 cases were compared with 39 matched cases of infantile autism on various outcome variables. Average follow-up time was 22 (11–33) years.

Results

Statistically significant differences were found between the two groups in terms of number of admissions to non-psychiatric departments, occurrence of comorbid epilepsy social style, and score on the Global Assessment of Functioning scale. In most other areas assessed there was a tendency, although statistically insignificant, towards a better outcome in the infantile autism comparison group.

Conclusions

Our findings provide some support for maintaining a diagnostic category of disintegrative psychosis as distinct from infantile autism.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Svend Erik Mouridsen, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bispebjerg Hospital, DK-2400, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Validity of childhood disintegrative psychosis: General findings of a long-term follow-up study

  • Svend Erik Mouridsen (a1), Bente Rich (a2) and Torben Isager (a3)
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