Concurrent and Predictive Electrodermal Correlates of Symptomatology in Recent-Onset Schizophrenic Patients

Michael E. Dawson, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Anne M. Schell, Jim Mintz

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Electrodermal activity and symptomatology were interrelated in a group of 56 male and 13 female recent-onset schizophrenic patients. Electrodermal activity was indexed by the frequency of non-specific skin conductance responses and the number of trials to habituation of the skin conductance orienting response. Symptomatology was assessed by the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) on two separate test occasions. The first test occasion was during the inpatient period when psychotic symptoms were prevalent and medications were variable. The second test occasion was several months later during an outpatient period when symptoms were stabilized and medications held constant. Electrodermal activity was positively and significantly related to a number of symptoms in male patients, most reliably the BPRS factors Activation and Hostility/Suspiciousness. These relationships were most consistent during the outpatient period. Of particular theoretical interest, greater electrodermal activity during the inpatient period was associated with greater outpatient psychopathology. The results suggest that heightened inpatient electrodermal activity is predictive of poor short-term symptomatic recovery in recent-onset, acute, male schizophrenic patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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