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Relapse in young paranoid schizophrenic patients: a prospective study of stressful life events, P300 measures, and coping
Am J Psychiatry 1997;154:792-798.
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OBJECTIVE: The authors investigated the relationship of cognitive and coping characteristics to stressful life events at the time of relapse in patients with recent-onset paranoid schizophrenia. METHOD: Over 6 years, the authors collected data on 41 schizophrenic outpatients aged 18-28 years at recruitment. The patients were rated prospectively every 2 weeks with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms, Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms, Global Assessment of Functioning Scale, and life events measures. The Frankfurt Questionnaire of Complaints was used to analyze subjective complaints regarding cognitive and coping abilities. The P300 auditory event-related potential was measured at recruitment to provide an index of information-processing capability. RESULTS: Patients without severe life events during the 1 month before relapse had a smaller P300, more subjective complaints, and less coping capacity than did relapsed schizophrenic subjects who had severe life events in the month before relapse. CONCLUSIONS: Relapses in subjects without severe life events were associated with fewer cognitive resources and less coping ability. Patients with normal P300 and adequate coping resources seemed to be able to deal better with stressful life events.

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