Patients with deficit, nondeficit, and negative symptom schizophrenia: Do they differ during episodes of acute psychotic decompensation?

Gianfranco Spalletta, Augusto Pasini, Francesca De Angelis, Alfonso Troisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aims of this study were (1) to test the hypothesis that the clinical profiles of deficit, nondeficit, and negative symptom patients are difficult to distinguish during episodes of acute psychotic decompensation; and (2) to compare these groups of schizophrenic patients in terms of sociodemographic and anamnestic variables. Patients admitted for acute psychotic decompensation were retrospectively diagnosed as having deficit (N=18) or nondeficit (N=40) forms of schizophrenia and their symptom profiles were evaluated cross-sectionally by using various rating scales (SAPS, SANS, and PANSS). As a whole, nondeficit patients were clearly differentiated from deficit patients by lower severity of negative symptoms. However, the subgroup (N=24) of nondeficit patients with prominent negative symptoms that were secondary and/or nonenduring showed a symptom profile largely overlapping with that of deficit patients. Attentional impairment was the only measure distinguishing deficit and negative symptom patients. As for trait variables, deficit patients had lower education than the other two groups and, among male subjects, there was a higher percentage of left-handers in the deficit group than in the negative symptom subgroup. These results con the importance of diagnosing the deficit syndrome during periods of clinical stability in order to avoid the risk of misclassifying negative symptom patients into the deficit group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-348
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 11 1997


  • Attention
  • Deficit syndrome
  • Handedness
  • Psychotic decompensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

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