Abstract

Negative and positive symptoms were investigated in a sample of 72 young schizophrenic and depressed patients at followup approximately 1½ years after hospital discharge. Flat affect, poverty of speech, and psychomotor retardation were included as negative symptoms, and delusions, hallucinations, and florid thought disorder as positive symptoms. Marked negative symptoms were found to occur in a subgroup of schizophrenic subjects at followup, but were infrequent in depressed subjects. Educational difficulties and poor social functioning before initial hospitalization were associated with later negative symptoms at followup for schizophrenic subjects. Negative symptoms were also related to concurrent outcome measures of instrumental and social functioning at followup. Contrary to some hypotheses, negative and positive symptoms, when assessed concurrently, were not at opposite ends of a bipolar continuum. Rather, they appeared to be independent phenomena in schizophrenia during the early posthospital phase. Overall, these results suggest that negative symptoms are important for a subgroup of schizophrenic patients during the early course of their disorder and that they have important correlates with specific aspects of role functioning.