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February 1984

Childhood Schizophrenia 20 Years Later

Author Affiliations

From the Institute of Family Psychiatry, Ipswich Hospital (Dr Howells), and St Clement's Hospital (Dr Guirguis), Ipswich, England.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(2):123-128. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790130017002

• We followed up 20 patients diagnosed as childhood schizophrenics more than 20 years earlier. The aims were to find out what patients were like as children, to see whether they had changed as adults, and to determine whether, as adults, they differed from schizophrenics whose conditions were not diagnosed in childhood. The original diagnosis was made by one child psychiatrist. All patients' conditions were rediagnosed retrospectively by strict application of the British Working Party's "nine diagnostic points." All adult patients were personally examined by one or both of us. We found that, apart from becoming generally quieter, patients were almost unchanged and retained most of the cardinal symptoms of childhood schizophrenia. They proved to be similar to adult simple schizophrenics. Whether or not patients were termed schizophrenic as adults depended on the criteria used for diagnosis. Age at onset did not affect outcome, with the exception of more reported hallucinatory experiences in the late-onset group.