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Information provided by patients and respective carers may help to understand formal thought disorder (FTD) in schizophrenia. Two scales, one for patients (FTD-patient) and one for carers (FTD-carer), were constructed to assess pragmatics, cognitive, paralinguistic, and non-verbal aspects of communication. In the first scale the patients themselves assess their verbal communication; in the second scale the carer assesses the speech of the respective patient. Both scales exhibited internal reliability and evidence of good test-retest reliability. Higher total scores on both scales (FTD-patient and FTD-carer) were significantly associated with positive FTD, but not with negative FTD. Principal component analysis of the scales yielded a multidimensional structure. It is suggested that FTD in schizophrenia may be associated with a range of deficits (e.g. pragmatics, lexical activation, working memory, sustained attention). These scales, in conjunction with the clinician's assessment, can provide a more comprehensive picture of FTD in schizophrenia, revealing its dimensions and making it possible to establish associations between symptoms of FTD and neuropsychological, neurophysiologic, and neuroimaging data. In addition, they provide service users' and carers' perspectives for the assessment of communication in schizophrenia.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.psychres.2006.09.017

Type

Journal article

Journal

Psychiatry Res

Publication Date

15/01/2008

Volume

157

Pages

225 - 234

Keywords

Adult, Cognition Disorders, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neuropsychological Tests, Reproducibility of Results, Schizophrenia, Semantics, Severity of Illness Index, Thinking