The British Journal of Psychiatry

Abstract

This retrospective study evaluated differences between patients with first manifestation of schizophrenic psychosis (ICD 295) or paranoid syndrome (ICD 297) between the ages of 18 and 23 or 40 and 63 years. Gender-specific variations in psychopathology were also examined. The numerous analyses of variance gave few significant differences. Patients with a late onset of the disease scored higher on depressive and autonomic syndrome scales at admission, whereas patients with an early onset showed more psychosocial impairment at discharge and their stay in hospital was longer. Among schizophrenic patients only (ICD 297 excluded), only the higher score for autonomic syndrome of the older patients at admission was confirmed. Men were more apathetic at admission and discharge than were women. Excluding patients with a paranoid syndrome, these differences were again significant. Moreover, schizophrenic men had higher depressive and psycho-organic syndrome scores at discharge. The demonstration of only marginal differences between early- and late-onset schizophrenia does not support the assumption that age of onset markedly influences psychopathology.