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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


CONTRERAS, Javier et al. Characterization of a group of schizophrenic in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2008, vol.50, n.3, pp.153-159. ISSN 0001-6002.

Justification and Aim: schizophrenia is a chronic illness with important social consequences. It is found in 1% of the world population. We describe the characteristics of schizophrenia in a sample of patients from the Central Valley of Costa Rica. Methods: descriptive, transversal study of schizophrenic patients diagnosed with the best estimate diagnosis process based on DSMIV criteria. Results: out of 260 schizophrenic subjects, 186 (71.5%) are males and 74 (28.5%) females, average age at interview is 38.95 years (SD: 11.37), lower in males (37.54 years, SD: 10.46) than females (42.49 (SD: 12.81, p<0.05), 44.96% are undifferentiated, 29.07% paranoid, 15.89% disorganized and 10.08% other subtypes. Average age of onset is 21.39 years (SD: 7.21) and age at first treatment 22.26 years (SD: 6.55) with no significant difference between males and females, 159 (85% of total males) have never been married compared to 47 (63% of total females) (p<0.05). Fifty four pointone percent of women are currently employed compared to 23.1% of males (p<0.05) even with similar 7.82 years of education (SD: 3.68). The number of hospitalizations is 5.49 (SD: 5.24), (p>0.05), those who are not married have a trend of more hospitalizations (17.25); 49.6% of the subjects have had at least one major depressive syndrome; 7.5% of males present alcohol abuse and 22.0% alcohol dependence; 7.7% have substance abuse and 7.3% substance dependence (p>0.05). Discussion: our sample showed similar clinical and demographic characteristics to other populations. More than half of the sample had affective symptoms, depressive symptoms were the most frequent. Single males had the worse prognosis, lower employment rate and higher number of hospitalizations. Nonetheless, this finding could be explained by the economical organization of the household and the social role of males in our society. Conclusions: schizophrenic males and females from the Central Valley of Costa Rica showed the same age of onset. In both groups, the most frequent schizophrenia type was undifferentiated with history of depressive symptoms. Males had higher unemployment rate, more substance use and more number of hospitalizations than females.

Keywords : schizophrenia; best estimate diagnosis; Central Valley of Costa Rica.

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