Early non-psychotic deviant behaviour as an endophenotypic marker in bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder and schizophrenia

  • Martin C Scholtz Department of Psychiatry, University of Pretoria, P Bag X113, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
  • Melissa S Janse van Rensburg Department of Psychiatry, University of Pretoria, P Bag X113, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
  • J Louw Roos Department of Psychiatry, University of Pretoria, P Bag X113, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
  • Herman W Pretorius Department of Psychiatry, University of Pretoria, P Bag X113, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
  • Maria Karayiorgou Human Neurogenetic Laboratory, Rockefeller University, New York, USA
  • Jonathan B Levin Medical Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Objective: To determine and compare the incidence of early non-psychotic deviant behaviour (i.e. under the age of ten) in Afrikaner patients with bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder and schizophrenia.

Methods: Patients with bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder and schizophrenia were interviewed using a structured questionnaire probing for early deviant childhood behaviour starting before the age of 10 years. Information from close family members was also obtained where possible. Seven areas of possible deviance were probed into: social dysfunction, unprovoked aggression, extreme anxiety, chronic sadness, extreme odd behaviours, attention impairment and learning difficulties. Demographic data included: age, marital status, gender, and years of formal education. The following clinical features were also recorded: age of onset of illness and suicide attempts.

Results: A total of 74 patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder, 43 patients diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder and 80 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were interviewed. Early deviant behaviour was statistically more prevalent in schizophrenia (65%) and schizo-affective disorder (60,5%), than in the bipolar group (21,6%). Deviant childhood behaviour was grouped into 3 clusters: social functioning impairment cluster (social isolation, aggression, extreme odd behavior), mood/anxiety cluster (extreme fears, chronic sadness) and a cognitive impairment cluster (attention impairment, learning disability). Bipolar patients showed significantly less social functioning and cognitive impairment compared to patients with schizo-affective disorder and schizophrenia.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that early deviant behaviour may be a possible endophenotypic marker in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Keywords: early non-psychotic deviant behaviour, endophenotype, bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder, schizophrenia

South African Psychiatry Review Vol. 8(4) 2005: 153-159
Published
2006-04-25
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1994-8220