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Semantic fluency in schizophrenia

Vol VI, No. 2, 2006 Comments (0)

Codruţa Alina POPESCU
Second Psychiatric Clinic, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Ioana Valentina MICLUŢIA
University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Iuliu Haţieganu”,
Department of Psychiatry, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Abstract
Background: Patients with schizophrenia exhibit various cognitive dysfunctions, most of them rendered evident by language.
Objectives: The aims of the current study are: to compare the global semantic performance of schizophrenics with those of normal controls and to explore the schizophrenics’ semantic network.
Method: 62 schizophrenic patients, admitted to the Second Psychiatric Clinic, diagnosed according to ICD-10 criteria and 158 healthy controls were evaluated with tasks for semantic fluency (animals, fruits, and body parts).
Statistical analysis: The correlation between clinical symptoms, demographic data and the verbal fluency variables has been determined using Pearson’s correlations. Data were analysed using ANOVA and for semantic fluency this was followed by multidimensional scaling (MDS).
Results: Patients with schizophrenia generated fewer words than healthy controls on semantic fluency tasks. The MDS analysis showed that the semantic structure for schizophrenics with hallucinations was more disorganized than that for schizophrenics without hallucinations. The study emphasized in the later subgroup a lack of any organisation or logical associations within their semantic network of animals, fruits or body parts.
Conclusions: The comparison between schizophrenia patients and normal controls indicated impaired semantic structure in the patient group, in addition to decreased word production.

Keywords: verbal fluency, schizophrenia, semantic store

Pages: 105-118

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