January 1977

Is Disordered Thinking Unique to Schizophrenia?

Author Affiliations

From the Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago (Dr Harrow); and the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Conn (Dr Quinlan).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(1):15-21. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770130017001

• To provide data on several issues related to disordered thinking in schizophrenia, 200 acutely ill psychiatric patients (including 55 schizophrenics) were evaluated on four instruments to assess thought pathology (the Object Sorting Test, the Rorschach Test, a social comprehension test, and a proverbs test). Patients were assessed at two phases of their disorders (the acute phase and the phase of partial recovery).

The results suggest (1) disordered thinking is not unique to schizophrenia; (2) distinctions between mild and severe levels of thought pathology are important; and (3) disordered thinking is influenced by acute psychopathology and acute upset. Inferential evidence suggests (4) disordered thinking fits along a continuum with normal thinking; (5) "thought disorders" are not a discrete, separate entity, standing apart from other aspects of thinking; and (6) older concepts about primary symptoms in schizophrenia need reexamination.