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The European Journal of Psychiatry

Print version ISSN 0213-6163


OCHOA, S.  and  NEDES GROUP et al. Influence of age at onset on social functioning in outpatients with schizophrenia. Eur. J. Psychiat. [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.3, pp.157-163. ISSN 0213-6163.

Background and Objectives: There are different factors that have been found to predict disability in schizophrenia. The aim of our study is to evaluate the influence of age at onset on social functioning in schizophrenia in a large sample of schizophrenic outpatients controlling for gender. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-one subjects with schizophrenia (DSM-IV criteria) were randomly selected from a register that included all patients under treatment in five mental health care centers (MHCC) in Spain. Patients were evaluated with a sociodemographic and clinical questionnaire, and the Spanish version of the Living Skills Profile (LSP). Pearson's analyses were performed between age at onset and LSP, and an ANOVA analysis to compare three groups of age at onset (early, middle and late). Gender was introduced as a covariable. Results: Mean age at onset of the total sample was 23 (sd 7.35), with women having a later age at onset than men (women 24.6 (sd 9.1) ; men 22.2 (sd 5.9) (p<0.05)). The relation between age at onset and social functioning was only significant in the not interpersonal social behavior subscale (p<0.01). Early age at onset was positively related to social contact-communication (p<0.05), not interpersonal social behavior (p<0.05) and total LSP score (p<0.05). When including gender as a covariable, a significant relationship between age at onset and social functioning was found in most of the LSP subscales. Conclusions: Early onset of illness negatively influences psychosocial functioning, especially in the areas of communication, not interpersonal social behaviour and self-care. Female gender positively influences most aspects of social functioning.

Keywords : Schizophrenia; Age at onset; Social Functioning; Gender.

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