Clinical characteristics of Kraepelinian schizophrenia: replication and extension of previous findings

Am J Psychiatry. 1996 Jun;153(6):806-11. doi: 10.1176/ajp.153.6.806.


Objective: Subtypologies of schizophrenia based on cross-sectional criteria, such as the nomenclature of the DSMs, have not been successful in identifying valid diagnostic subgroups among patients with schizophrenia. A subtypology that uses criteria to classify individuals on the basis of longitudinal deficits in self-care may identify a more valid subgroup of schizophrenic patients.

Method: This study describes the clinical characteristics of a group of schizophrenic patients identified on the basis of a longitudinal criterion: at least 5 years of continuous and complete dependence on others for obtaining and maintaining the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, and shelter.

Results: Sixty-one "Kraepelinian" schizophrenic inpatients, when compared to 80 non-Kraepelinian schizophrenic inpatients who were similar in years of illness, age, and education, demonstrated more severe negative symptoms and more severe formal thought disorder; yet the severity of their delusions, hallucinations, and bizarre behavior did not differ significantly. None of the Kraepelinian patients and eight non-Kraepelinian patients met DSM-III-R criteria for schizoaffective disorder.

Conclusions: Data from this replication study suggest that Kraepelinian schizophrenic patients, identified on the basis of a longitudinal course characterized by severe dysfunctions in self-care, may represent an alternative, and possibly more valid, method of subtyping schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders / classification
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Schizophrenia / classification
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Self Care
  • Severity of Illness Index