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A complementary approach to defining symptomatic subtypes of schizophrenia is to identify characteristic patterns of ‘problem behaviours’ associated with the capacity of patients to function in the community.
In a large epidemiological survey, patients fulfilling Feighner criteria for schizophrenia were identified by key informants and assessed using the MRC Social Behaviour Schedule (SBS) and the Manchester Scale. An exploratory factor analysis was used to extract behavioural syndromes from the SBS data in order to compare the syndrome profiles in community, acute and long-stay subgroups and to examine their associations with symptoms and social functioning.
Four behavioural syndromes were identified: Thought disturbance, ‘Social withdrawal’, ‘Depressed behaviour’ and ‘Anti-social behaviour’, which distinguished between the patient subgroups and had significant differential relationships to symptoms and social functioning variables.
The evaluation of disability in schizophrenia and effectiveness of treatment interventions is incomplete without an assessment of problem behaviours.
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