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February 1969

A Theory of Schizophrenic Behavioral Disorganization

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(2):129-144. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740140001001

IN RECENT years an increasing number of theories have appeared which do not consider that schizophrenic disorders are primarily defensive manifestations. Defensive behaviors serving to avoid or reduce anxiety are undoubtedly important in the development of specific symptoms and in helping to account for the wide individual differences among schizophrenics. However, disorganization produced by other causes may be primary while defensive behaviors are secondary phenomena.

In general, theories of schizophrenia which assign a secondary role to defense mechanisms focus on phenomena of response interference such as associative looseness of "cognitive slippage."1 Much evidence suggests that these phenomena are particularly characteristic of schizophrenia.2-4

In his classical discussion of schizophrenia, Bleuler5 states that disturbances of association are primary to the disorder while other symptoms are secondary. The nature of these associative disturbances is worthy of further clarification.

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