Childhood social functioning predicts schizophrenia risk

Poor social functioning in childhood predicts an increased risk for schizophrenia later in life, suggest researchers.

They found that premorbid social functioning, as rated by teachers on a Likert-type scale, significantly differentiated children who developed schizophrenia-spectrum disorder from those who did not develop mental illness and those who developed other psychiatric disorders.

Also, social functioning appeared to predict the risk for schizophrenia independently of genetic risk, and with little interaction between these two factors.

“[R]esults from this 48-year longitudinal record suggest that children on a trajectory toward schizophrenia-spectrum disorders demonstrate interpersonal deficits early in life, and that teachers provide valuable information regarding children’s social functioning,” write lead researcher Jason Schiffman (University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA) and colleagues in Schizophrenia Research.

My interpersonal problems started at a young age. I found it hard to make friends, and i was not as close to my brother and sister growing up as they were to each other. I was into solitary pursuits and something of a loner.
I was bullied as a teenager for being physically and socially awkward. My initial diagnosis was schizophrenia then schizoaffective and now paranoid PD -a schizophrenia spectrum personality disorder.

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Thats interesting. I had a very hard time making friends and still do. I also was bullied in 6th grade. I also was not that close to my sister,

This is the one time I don’t fit the M.O. I was a disruptive class clown and hyper. Maybe I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I was in peoples face all the time. I was always manically bouncing around. I HAD to know everyone I saw. I couldn’t stop myself from following people around and I just kept talking. I was told I was inappropriately friendly. I had no respect or concept of personal boundaries. When I got older and really started crumbling around the edges, then I withdrew.

Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us!

I’m sure many of us, myself included, can relate to this.


i was very quiet and pointed out early as a loner. i was called a devil child and people in my high school were for sure i wa gonna shoot up the school (their rumor). i was bullied. but managed to make 1 friend in high school. he had mental illness too tho

I was real shy as a child. As I got older it turned into anxiety and social awkwardness, but I tried hard to fit in. Eventually I just gave up and became asocial.

I didn’t have any real or close friends. I just was there, but I never had a best friend. I was in fights alot and I was hyperactive. I made a lot of sound and noices in class. I wasn’t shy at all, I talked a lot and made my classmates laugh.

Oh, almost forgot. Some children were afraid of me, they thought my dad was a vampire!

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There for a while I thought I was the only chatty hyperactive kid around. Thank you for your post.

I actually have another diagnose too. I have tourette’s syndrom. That made me hyper and noicy. My meds make the tics go away. It’s a win win. :wink:

this ties in with my theory that sz is not a natural genetic predisposition as a lot of people believe, i personally believe that sz is determined by the way we are brought up and how we are nurtured and taught and cared for during our childhood.