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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2005 June;46(2):79-88

language: English

A five-dimensional man. The core dimensions of the vulnerability to schizophrenia. A review

Stanghellini G., Ballerini M., Di Primio C.


A review of empirical studies on schizophrenia precursors and prodromes shows there are 5 core dimensions of the vulnerability to schizophrenia: difficulties in social functioning, including school and occupational problems, and problems in interpersonal relationships; emotional disturbances, especially those appearing in interpersonal relationships; disorders in neuropsychological functions; neurodevelopmental disturbances; and disorders of self-experience, including basic-symptoms. Each one of the 5 dimensions is per se a non-specific feature of the vulnerability to schizophrenia. Specificity emerges from their combination in a unitary complex of abnormal phenomena. Future research should not only improve our knowledge about each single dimension of schizophrenic vulnerability, i.e. producing valid description and definition of abnormal phenomena, and assessing their statistical significance. It should also look for the unifying characteristic of the 5 dimensions of schizophrenic vulnerability. Theoretical research is in this field essential to identify the common root and look for a unitary or holistic definition of the condition of vulnerability to schizophrenia as a whole.

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