Early versus late risk factors for deficit and nondeficit schizophrenia

Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Engl Ed). 2021 Apr 1;S1888-9891(21)00033-1. doi: 10.1016/j.rpsm.2021.03.002. Online ahead of print.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Aim: We examined whether timing of known risk factors for schizophrenia may influence the development of schizophrenia with primary negative symptoms.

Method: This cross-sectional single-centre study in England used a clinical cohort of 167 clozapine-treated schizophrenia patients. Deficit and nondeficit schizophrenia models were used as clinical proxies of patients with and without primary negative symptoms respectively. Patients were assessed using the Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome. We examined previously replicated risk factors (family history of psychosis, advanced paternal age, male gender, birth weight <3000g, summer birth, cannabis use, exposure to physical or sexual abuse and/or bullying) as well as other traumatic events for deficit and nondeficit schizophrenia.

Results: We found a distinct risk factor pattern for the two groups. Compared to the nondeficit group, patients with deficit schizophrenia reported a significantly lower prevalence of cannabis use (p=0.005) at the time of first-episode psychosis (FEP), physical or sexual abuse (p=0.033) prior to FEP, less exposure to crime-related traumatic events (p=0.012) and significantly associated with summer birth (p=0.017). The groups did not differ in terms of family history of psychosis, advanced paternal age, male gender, or low birth weight. To account for multiple comparisons, a confirmatory analysis was performed using logistic regression which yielded similar results except that summer birth no longer reached statistical significance.

Conclusion: Our results suggest the timing of the insult may influence the symptom presentation, with insults later in life (cannabis or traumatic events) being associated with psychotic presentation and less with primary negative symptoms.

Keywords: Cannabis; Deficit schizophrenia; Esquizofrenia deficitaria; Factor de riesgo para esquizofrenia; Nacimiento en verano; Schizophrenia risk factors; Summer birth; Trauma.