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October 1977

Life Events and SchizophreniaII. Impact of Life Events on Symptom Configuration

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry (Dr Schwartz), College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, and the Department of Sociology (Dr Myers), Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(10):1242-1245. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770220124016

• This study investigates the impact of life events on symptom configuration in a group of 132 posthospitalized schizophrenics living in the community. Multivariate techniques were used to isolate specific dimensions of symptoms and to study the influence of life events, viewed in terms of number, the psychological control dimension, and qualitative nature, in contrast to other factors thought to determine symptoms. Life events exert their greatest influence on nonpsychotic symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and somatic concerns. Aspects of psychotic behavior such as grandiosity, delusions, and looseness of associations appear to be somewhat vulnerable to the impact of life events, particularly those events that are undesirable, social losses, and beyond individual psychological control. We discuss the findings in relation to the issue of causal effect in the study of life events and psychiatric impairment.