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Personal Narratives Examined in Schizophrenia

Schizophr Res; ePub 2017 Nov 16; Willits, et al

Recent findings suggest a particular pattern in persons with schizophrenia of difficulty with cohesively connecting thoughts about oneself and the world, which results in a perceived lack of coherence. These results are consistent with Bleuler's model of schizophrenia and offer a novel way to understand and measure alterations in thought and speech over time. In order to explore this question, researchers compared the personal narratives of adults with schizophrenia (n=200) to those produced by an HIV+ sample (n=55). They found:

  • Consistent with predictions, the narratives in schizophrenia exhibited less cohesion even after controlling for age and education.
  • Specifically, the schizophrenia group spoke fewer words, demonstrated less connection between ideas and clauses, provided fewer causal/intentional markers, and displayed lower levels of deep cohesion.
  • A classification model using only Coh-Metrix indices found language markers correctly classified participants in nearly three-fourths of cases.

Citation:

Willits JA, Rubin T, Jones MN, Minor KS, Lysaker PH. Evidence of disturbances of deep levels of semantic cohesion within personal narratives in schizophrenia. [Published online ahead of print November 16, 2017]. Schizophr Res. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2017.11.014.

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