Childhood schizophrenia: Responsiveness to questions during conversation

Ahmad Abu-Akel, Rochelle Caplan, Donald Guthrie, Scott Komo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study characterized further the communicative deficits associated with childhood-onset schizophrenia. It examined the use of speech functions that involve responses to Yes/No and Wh- questions in children with schizophrenia and normal children during conversation. It also ascertained the relationship of these speech functions with cognition and thought disorder. Method: Speech function variables, formal thought disorder, and cohesion were coded in 32 schizophrenic and 34 normal children, aged 5.6 to 12,4 years, from speech samples elicited with the Story Game. Results: The schizophrenic children were significantly more impaired in the use of speech functions than the normal children. Other than the association of a subset of the speech functions with distractibility and loose associations, the speech function measures were unrelated to cognitive and thought disorder measures, Conclusions: Speech function analysis detects communication deficits not captured by thought disorder measures in children with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-786
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by NIMH grant K01-MH0053 (R.C.). The authors thank Amy Mo for her technical assistance.


  • Childhood
  • Neuroleptics
  • Schizophrenia
  • Speech functions
  • Thought disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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