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Letters to the Editor
May 2002

Limitations of the Bonn Scale for the Assessment of Basic Symptoms as a Screening Measure

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Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(5):470-471. doi:

The February 2001 issue of ARCHIVES carries a report on the use of the Bonn Scale for the Assessment of Basic Symptoms (BSABS), a screening measure for the early detection of schizophrenia.1 In this sample of nonpsychotic outpatients, of those who reported at least one prodromal symptom on the BSABS, 70% subsequently developed the illness. The instrument seems to have a better positive predictive value than other measures of prodromal states2 and a relatively low false-positive rate (specificity = 0.59). Because the false-negative rate of the instrument is low (sensitivity = 0.98), the researchers conclude that the measure "seems applicable to a broad identification of at-risk persons in the general population."2(p163)

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