Journal Article

Identifying Subtypes of Schizophrenia by Cluster Analyses

Sonia Dollfus, Brian Everitt, Jean Marie Ribeyre, Francoise Assouly-Besse, Charlie Sharp and Michel Petit

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 22, issue 3, pages 545-555
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 0586-7614
e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI:
Identifying Subtypes of Schizophrenia by Cluster Analyses

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The existence of two subtypes of schizophrenia (positive and negative) is well established. The evidence in favor of other subtypes, particularly a disorganized subtype, is still the subject of some debate. The aim of the study reported in this article is to investigate the possibility of further subtypes of schizophrenia by applying a particular method of cluster analysis to a particular set of data. Ward's method of cluster analysis was applied to the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores of 138 patients, defined as having schizophrenia by one of four diagnostic criteria. The validity of the cluster solution was assessed both by examining differences between clusters on a number of clinical characteristics recorded for each patient and by comparing the results obtained from the PANSS with those derived from a cluster analysis using two other instruments (the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms). Results from the cluster analysis suggest the existence of at least four subtypes of schizophrenia: positive, negative, mixed, and disorganized. A fifth subtype includes patients with few symptoms, suggesting the simple schizophrenia named by Bleuler. Evidence for the validity of these subtypes was provided by the differences observed between the clusters on a number of clinical characteristics and by the similarity of the cluster solution obtained from the different instruments. In conclusion, the negative-positive dichotomy in schizophrenia is an oversimplification, and the existence of a more complex structure needs to be taken into account in future research.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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