Premorbid adjustment in schizophrenia: implications for psychosocial and ventricular pathology

Levitt JJ, Shenton ME, McCarley RW, Faux SF, Ludwig AS

Schizophr. Res. 1994 May;12(2):159-68

PMID: 8043526


Premorbid adjustment in schizophrenia is thought important (1) as a predictor of current pathology and course, and (2) as a psychosocial expression of brain pathology preceding psychosis. Its valid and reliable measurement, however, pose a major challenge. To address this issue we interviewed 12 chronic male schizophrenic veterans and their first degree relatives, plus 12 age and social class of origin matched normal controls and their relatives, using the Cannon-Spoor et al. Premorbid Adjustment Scale (PAS), for which we developed our own semi-structured interview. Objective data from school records were also obtained. Schizophrenic’s PAS scores were significantly poorer, irrespective of whether PAS scores were based on information from subjects, first degree relatives or from ‘combined sources’. PAS scores were worse at all developmental epochs, with a marked divergence beginning in late adolescence. Worse premorbid adjustment in schizophrenia was also highly correlated with current clinical state, more current negative symptoms, less independent living and longer duration of hospitalization. Additionally, worse premorbid adjustment in schizophrenia was associated with larger Magnetic Resonance (MR) Ventricular Brain Ratio (VBR) in an exploratory analysis using a subset of these patients. Premorbid adjustment, rigorously measured, is poorer in schizophrenics than in normal controls and correlates with psychosocial and ventricular pathology in schizophrenia.