Correlates of schizophrenia spectrum disorders in children and adolescents cared for in community settings



Background:  This study examined the prevalence and correlates of schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) among a national sample of 9006 children.

Methods:  Clinician-assigned diagnoses were used to divide the sample into two groups: children with SSD and children with other Axis I disorders.

Results:  Three percent of the sample had a SSD diagnosis. African American (OR=1.71, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.65) and Hispanic race/ethnicity (OR=1.96, 95% CI: 1.31, 2.94), a greater number of comorbid psychiatric diagnoses (three diagnoses, OR=2.22, 95% CI: 1.49, 3.31), a history of attempting suicide (OR=1.45; 95% CI: 1.05, 2.02), and past residential treatment (OR=1.59; 95% CI: 1.11, 2.28) were all associated with increased odds of SSD diagnosis.

Conclusions:  Although schizophrenia spectrum disorders in youth are rare, children with these disorders present with a distinct risk profile that may inform service planning and delivery and assist in identifying individuals early in the course of their illness.