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January 1977

Communication Patterns and Role Structure in Families of Male SchizophrenicsA Study Using Automated Techniques

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Boston (Drs Wild and Shapiro), and the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland (Dr Abelin).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(1):58-70. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770130060006

• Observers used automated methods to code who spoke to whom (Who-to-Whom) while families (mother, father, son) of 30 schizophrenics, 13 psychiatrically hospitalized nonschizophrenic controls, and 26 normal controls interacted on four tasks. From the Who-to-Whom data, measures of activity, channels of communication, and other variables were derived. Clear patterns of dominance were found in families of schizophrenics with fathers most and sons least active, while activity was more evenly distributed among family members in both control groups. The mother-son channel of communication was used more in both control groups than in families of schizophrenics. Differences on the Who-to-Whom measures were found among families of schizophrenic sons differing on premorbid, working and paranoid status, but social class had little effect.