Teachers' comments in the childhood school records (grades K-12) of 143 psychiatric patients and their matched controls were coded along 23 bipolar dimensions. Two methods of grouping these scales were compared: rational clusters and factor analysis. Factor analysis yielded more numerous and narrowly defined behavioural groupings. Schizophrenics, personality disorder patients, neurotics, and depressives were compared to their matched controls on each of the cluster and factor scores. Both schizophrenics and personality disordered patients were significantly less agreeable in childhood than their respective controls. Pre-schizophrenics also were significantly more unstable. Depressives were more independent than their controls, while neurotics did not differ significantly in any respect from normals in childhood. The data suggest that schizophrenia may have specific developmental patterns of possible aetiological or early diagnostic significance.