Social class of origin and cardinal symptoms of schizophrenic disorders over the early illness course
- Cite this article as:
- Brown, A., Susser, E., Jandorf, L. et al. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol (2000) 35: 53. doi:10.1007/s001270050008
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Background: This study describes the relationship of social class of origin to cardinal symptoms of schizophrenic disorders over the early illness course. Method: The sample of subjects was drawn from the Suffolk County Mental Health Project, a longitudinal epidemiologic study of first-hospitalized subjects with psychotic disorders; the present study focused on patients with schizophrenic disorders. At baseline, subjects were dichotomized into upper/middle and lower social class of origin groups, based on occupation of the head of the household of origin. The patients in both groups were assessed for the major symptoms of schizophrenic disorders using standard structured instruments at both baseline and 6-month follow-up. The 6-month symptom severity levels were compared between the groups, controlling for baseline symptom status and potential confounders. Results: At 6-month follow-up, the upper/middle social class of origin group, as compared to the lower social class of origin group, had lower symptom levels for hallucinations (adjusted OR = 4.88, χ2 = 8.49, P = 0.004) and delusions (adjusted OR = 2.46, χ2 = 4.16, P = 0.04). There were no notable group differences for any of the negative or thought disorganization symptoms. Conclusions: Social class of origin is associated with positive symptoms of schizophrenia over the early illness course.