Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 435–453 | Cite as

Cognitive and attentional deficits in children vulnerable to psychopathology

  • Ken C. Winters
  • Arthur A. Stone
  • Sheldon Weintraub
  • John M. Neale


Cognitive and attentional deficits were assessed in children with either a schizophrenic, an affectively disordered or a normal parent. The children were grouped both by their parents' DSM-II diagnoses (broadly defined group of schizophrenics and heterogeneous group of depressives)and by a new set of diagnoses (narrowly defined group of schizophrenics, unipolar depressive group and bipolar group). Children whose parents met the more stringent criteria for schizoprhenia performed somewhat more deviantly than children whose parents met only DSM-II criteria. In addition, the importance of splitting the heterogeneous depressive group into more homogeneous subgroups is indicated by the findings that children of unipolar parents generally could not be distinguished from children whose parents are schizophrenic. On the other hand, children of bipolar parents performed reliably better than children of schizophrenics. These findings are viewed within the context of current high-risk studies and psychological deficit literature and suggest that diagnostic issues require more attention by researchers in these areas.


Heterogeneous Group Attentional Deficit Normal Parent Stringent Criterion Depressive Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Reference note

  1. Lumry, A., & Gottesman, I. I. MMPI state dependency during the course of bipolar psychosis. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, New York, September 1979.Google Scholar


  1. Anthony, E. J. Clinical evaluation of children with psychotic parents.American Journal of Psychiatry, 1967,126, 177–184.Google Scholar
  2. Asarnow, R. F., Steffy, R. A., MacCrimmon, D. J., & Cleghorn, J. M. An attentional assessment of foster children at risk for schizophrenia. In L. C. Wynne, R. L. Cromwell, & S. Matthysse (Eds.),The nature of schizophrenia. New York: Wiley, 1978.Google Scholar
  3. Bannister, D., Adams-Webber, J. R., Penn, W. I., & Radley, A. R. Reversing the process of thought disorder: A serial validation experiment.British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 1975,14, 169–180.Google Scholar
  4. Bruner, J. S., Olver, R. R., & Greenfield, P. M. (Eds.).Studies in cognitive growth. New York: Wiley, 1966.Google Scholar
  5. Chapman, L. J., & Chapman, J. P.Disordered thought in schizophrenia. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1973.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, B. D., & Cahmi, V. Schizophrenic performance in a word communication task.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1967,72, 240–246.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, J. A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales.Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1960,20, 3–46.Google Scholar
  8. Cooper, J. E., Kendall, R. E., Gurland, B. J., Sharpe, L., Copeland, J. R. M., & Simon, R.Psychiatric diagnosis in New York and London. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  9. Davidson, M. Studies in the application of mental tests to psychotic patients.British Journal of Medical Psychology, 1939,18, 44–52.Google Scholar
  10. Donnelly, E., Murphy, D., & Goodwin, F. Cross-sectional and longitudinal comparisons of bipolar and unipolar depressed groups on the MMPI.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1976,44, 233–237.Google Scholar
  11. Endicott, J., & Spitzer, R. L. The value of the standardized interview for the evaluation of psychopathology.Journal of Personality Assessment, 1972,36, 410–417.Google Scholar
  12. Erlenmeyer-Kimling, L., & Comblatt, B. Attentional measures in a study of children at high-risk for schizophrenia.Journal of Psychiatric Research, 1978,14, 93–98.Google Scholar
  13. Flor-Henry, P. Lateralized temporal-limbic dysfunction and psychopathology.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1976,280, 777–795.Google Scholar
  14. Gamer, E., Gallant, D., & Grunebaum, H. Children of psychotic mothers: An evaluation of 1-year olds on a test of object performance.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1976,33, 311–317.Google Scholar
  15. Gottesman, I. I., & Shields J.,Schizophrenia and genetics: A twin study vantage point. New York: Academic Press, 1972.Google Scholar
  16. Grunebaum, M., Weiss, J., Gallant, D., & Cohler, B. J. Attention in young children of psychotic mothers.American Journal of Psychiatry, 1974,131, 887–891.Google Scholar
  17. Gruzelier, J. H., & Hammond, N. V. Schizophrenia: A dominant hemisphere temporal-lobe disorder?Research Communications in Psychology, Psychiatry, and Behavior, 1976,1, 1, 33–72.Google Scholar
  18. Gruzelier, J. H., & Venables, P. Bimodality and lateral asymmetry of skin conductance orienting activity in schizophrenics: Replication and evidence of lateral asymmetry in patients with depression and disorders of personality.Biological Psychiatry, 1974,8, 55–73.Google Scholar
  19. Gur, R. E. Motoric laterality imbalance in schizophrenia.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1977,34, 33–37.Google Scholar
  20. Hanson, D. R., Gottesman, I. I., & Heston, L. L. Some possible childhood indicators of adult schizophrenia inferred from children of schizophrenics.British Journal of Psychology, 1976,129, 142–154.Google Scholar
  21. Helmsley, D. R., & Zawada, S. L. “Filtering” and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.British Journal of Psychiatry, 1976,128, 456–461.Google Scholar
  22. Heston, L. L. Psychiatric disorders in foster home reared children of schizophrenic mothers.British Journal of Psychiatry, 1966,112, 819–825.Google Scholar
  23. Kazanetz, E. P. Differentiating exogeneous psychiatric illness from schizophrenia.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1979,36, 740–745.Google Scholar
  24. Kincannon, J. C. Prediction of the standard MMPI scale scores from 71 iterms: The Mini-Mult.Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 1969,32, 319–325.Google Scholar
  25. Klonoff, H., Fibiger, C. H., & Hutton, G. H. Neuropsychological patterns in chronic schizophrenia.Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1970,150, 291–300.Google Scholar
  26. MacVane, J. R., Lange, J. D., Brown, W. A., & Zayat, M. Psychological functioning of bipolar manic-depressives in remission.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1978,35, 1351–1354.Google Scholar
  27. Mason, C. F. Pre-illness intelligence of mental hospital patients.Journal of Consulting Psychology, 1956,20, 297–300.Google Scholar
  28. Mednick, S. A. Breakdown in individuals at high-risk for schizophrenia: Possible predispositional perinatal factors.Mental Hygiene, 1970,54, 50–63.Google Scholar
  29. Mednick, S. A., & Schulsinger, F. Some premorbid characteristics related to breakdown in children with schizophrenic mothers. In D. Rosenthal & S. S. Kety (Eds.),The transmission of schizophrenia. Elmsford, New York: Pergamon Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  30. Miller, W. R. Psychological deficits in depression.Psychological Bulletin, 1975,82, 238–260.Google Scholar
  31. Neale, J. M., & Weintraub, S. Children vulnerable to psychopathology: The Stony Brook high-risk project.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1975,3, 95–113.Google Scholar
  32. Oltmanns, T. F., Ohayon, J., & Neale, J. M. The effects of antipsychotic medication and diagnostic criteria on distractibility in schizophrenia.Journal of Psychiatric Research, 1978,14, 81–91.Google Scholar
  33. Oltmanns, T. F., Weintraub, S., Stone, A. A., & Neale, J. M. Cognitive slippage in children vulnerable to schizophrenia.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1978,6, 237–245.Google Scholar
  34. Perris, C. The genetics of affective disorders. In J. Mendels (Ed.),Biological psychiatry. New York: Wiley, 1973.Google Scholar
  35. Perris, C. The separation of bipolar (manic-depressive) from unipolar recurrent depressive psychoses.Behavioral Neuropsychiatry, 1969,1, 17–25.Google Scholar
  36. Rutschmann, J., Cornblatt, B. & Erlenmeyer-Kimling, L. Sustained attention in children at risk for schizophrenia.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1977,34, 571–575.Google Scholar
  37. Salzman, L. F., & Klein, R. H. Habituation and conditioning of electrodermal responses in high-risk children.Schizophrenia Bulletin, 1978,4, 210–224.Google Scholar
  38. Schachter, J., Kerr, J., Lachin, J. M., & Faer, M. Newborn offspring of a schizophrenic parent. Cardiac reactivity to auditory stimuli.Psychophysiology, 1975,12, 483–492.Google Scholar
  39. Shimkunas, A. Hemispheric asymmetry and schizophrenic thought disorder. In S. Schwartz (Ed.),Language and cognition in schizophrenia. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Erlbaum, 1978.Google Scholar
  40. Spitzer, R. L., & Endicott J.,Current and Past Psychopathology Scales (CAPPS). New York: Evaluations Unit, Biometrics Research, New York State Department of Mental Hygiene, 1968.Google Scholar
  41. Spitzer, R. L., Endicott, J., & Robins, E.Research diagnostic criteria. New York: Biometrics Research, 1975.Google Scholar
  42. Strauss, J. S., & Gift, T. E. Choosing an approach for diagnosing schizophrenia.Archives of General Psychiatry, 1977,34, 1248–1253.Google Scholar
  43. Winokur, G., Clayton, P., & Reich, T.Manic-depressive illness. St. Louis: Mosby, 1969.Google Scholar
  44. World Health Organization.The international pilot study of schizophrenia (Vol. 1). Geneva: World Health Organization Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  45. Zerbin-Rudin, E. Endogene psychosen. In P. Becker (Ed.),Humangenetik: Ein kurzes handbuch in funf baden (Vol. 2). Stuttgart: Thieme, 1967.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken C. Winters
    • 1
  • Arthur A. Stone
    • 1
  • Sheldon Weintraub
    • 1
  • John M. Neale
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York at Stony BrookStony Brook

Personalised recommendations