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October 24, 1959


Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

From the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA Medical Center.

JAMA. 1959;171(8):1045-1050. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.03010260001001

An intensive study was made of 34 children with schizophrenia. Diagnosis was established by observation of appearance, speech, motility and posture, play patterns, interpersonal responses, thought content, psychometrics, and clinical history by at least three psychiatrists not involved in the study. Data obtained by questionnaire from the parents of children in the test group were compared with similar data from parents of a contratest group of 19 children who manifested behavior disorders without the diagnosis of schizophrenia. The differences found were in keeping with the general impression that some children show symptoms of fairly sudden regression at the age of 1, 2, or 3 years. They take less interest in their surroundings, cannot be motivated to train themselves in bowel and bladder control, and develop abnormal, repetitive play patterns. The strain on the family is intensified by the current tendency of society to blame the parents. Hospitalization is sometimes helpful, sometimes harmful. Recognition of the disease is essential, and treatment, if started early, sometimes produces a useful citizen.