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Sex differences in neuropsychological functioning among schizophrenic patients
Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:1178-1184.
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OBJECTIVE: The view of schizophrenic men as having poorer premorbid development, earlier age at onset, and worse outcome than schizophrenic women predicts greater neuropsychological impairment in the former than the latter. The authors examined in detail neuropsychological functioning in a large group of schizophrenic patients and a healthy comparison group. METHOD: Neuropsychological functioning in 132 male and 63 female patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder was extensively studied and compared with that of 99 (40 male, 59 female) healthy individuals. RESULTS: As expected, the schizophrenic patients as a group were pervasively and significantly more impaired than the comparison group. Within schizophrenia, in contrast to the prediction, women performed significantly more poorly than men in verbal memory, spatial memory, and visual processing. Female schizophrenic patients also had significantly poorer right than left hemisphere performance, whereas male schizophrenic patients had identical scores for right and left hemisphere impairment. CONCLUSIONS: The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that schizophrenia among women may be partially understood as a right hemisphere dysfunction. Sampling, diagnostic, and epidemiologic factors may have affected the results.

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