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Thought disorder and communication patterns during an interactional task were examined in families of children with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (schizophrenia and schizo typal personality disorder), depressed children, and normal controls. Children with schizophreniaspectrum disorders showed significantly more thought disorder than their normal peers; levels of thought disorder among depressed children fell between those observed in the other two groups but did not differ significantly from either of them. Similarly, mothers of children with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders showed more thought disorder than mothers of normal control children but did not differ from mothers of depressed children. Children with schizotypal personality disorder did not differ from children with schizophrenia. These findings demonstrate that the thought disorder present in childhood-onset schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorders is manifest in an important social context, the family.


Originally published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(4), 421-429.

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