Journal Article

Causes and Consequences of the Gender Difference in Age at Onset of Schizophrenia

Heinz Häfner, Wolfram an der Heiden, Stephan Behrens, Wagner F. Gattaz, Martin Hambrecht, Walter Löffler, Kurt Maurer, Povl Munk-Jørgensen, Birgit Nowotny, Anita Riecher-Rössler and Astrid Stein

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 99-113
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI:
Causes and Consequences of the Gender Difference in Age at Onset of Schizophrenia

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The ABC (age, beginning, course) schizophrenia study was commenced in 1987 to generate and test hypotheses about pathogenic aspects of schizophrenia. One of the main branches of the study focused on how gender influences the age distribution of onset, symptomatology, illness behavior, and early course in schizophrenia. Proceeding from one of the rare, strikingly deviating, consistent findings—the gender difference in age at first admission—we launched a systematic search for explanations by generating and testing hypotheses in a series of substudies. We moved from the epidemiological to the neurobiological and finally to the clinical level. The present article is an attempt to provide a brief overview of the individual stages of the ABC study and the different levels of investigation involved in formulating and testing the estrogen hypothesis in animal experiments and in demonstrating its applicability to human schizophrenia. From these results, three hypotheses were formulated and tested on data from an ABC study sample of 232 first-episode cases of schizophrenia. The analyses described here represent the latest stages of the ABC study.

Keywords: Gender differences; age at onset; early course

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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