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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 1/2014

Catatonic features in adolescents with schizophrenia with and without a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health > Ausgabe 1/2014
Petra Waris, Nina Lindberg, Kirsi Kettunen, Jari Lipsanen, Pekka Tani
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1753-2000-8-16) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Authors’ contributions

PW planned the study, collected, organized and analyzed the data and served as the first author. NL participated in the planning, analysis and writing processes. KK participated in collecting the data. JL performed statistical analyzes. PT supervised the study project and participated in the writing process. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Catatonia has been associated with both schizophrenia and pervasive developmental disorders. The aim of this study was to evaluate catatonic features among adolescents suffering from schizophrenia. Further, we compared these features between adolescents with a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder and those without one. Finally, we wanted to compare the profile of catatonia-like features of our schizophrenia patients to that described earlier among persons with autism spectrum disorders.


The study comprised a consecutive sample of 18 adolescents with schizophrenia (mean age 15.6 years, SD 1.4) and their families. Diagnosis of schizophrenia was assessed with the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Aged Children – Present and Life-Time (K-SADS-PL) for the DSM-IV. The Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders version 11 was used to assess catatonic features.


All adolescents with schizophrenia had showed some lifetime catatonic features. Approximately 78% of them had already expressed these features before the age of 10. The number of catatonic features before the age of 10 was significantly higher among the adolescents with a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder compared to those without one. The numbers of catatonic features after the age of 10 did not significantly differ between the two groups. Over three-quarters of schizophrenia patients shared four lifetime catatonic features: “lacks facial expression”, “odd intonation”, “poor eye contact” and “lack of cooperation”.


Adolescent schizophrenia patients with a comorbid pervasive developmental disorder show many catatonic features in childhood whereas those without one seem to develop these features first in adolescence. Catatonic features exhibited by adolescents with schizophrenia resemble those described among persons with pervasive developmental disorders without schizophrenia.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
Authors’ original file for figure 2
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