Historically, formal thought disorder has been considered as one of the distinctive symptoms of schizophrenia. However, research in last few decades suggested that there is a considerable clinical and neurobiological overlap between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BP). We conducted a meta-analysis of studies comparing positive (PTD) and negative formal thought disorder (NTD) in schizophrenia and BP. We included 19 studies comparing 715 schizophrenia and 474 BP patients. In the acute inpatient samples, there was no significant difference in the severity of PTD (d = –0.07, CI = –0.22–0.09) between schizophrenia and BP. In stable patients, schizophrenia was associated with increased PTD compared to BP (d = 1.02, CI = 0.35–1.70). NTD was significantly more severe (d = 0.80, CI = 0.52–0.1.08) in schizophrenia compared to BP. Our findings suggest that PTD is a shared feature of both schizophrenia and BP but persistent PTD or NTD can distinguish subgroups of schizophrenia from BP and schizophrenia patients with better clinical outcomes.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.