Movement abnormalities and the progression of prodromal symptomatology in adolescents at risk for psychotic disorders

Vijay A. Mittal*, Kevin D. Tessner, Hanan D. Trottman, Michelle Esterberg, Shivali H. Dhrub, Diana I. Simeonova, Amanda L. McMillan, Erin Murphy, Mary E. Saczawa, Elaine F. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The link between movement abnormalities and psychotic disorders is presumed to reflect common neural mechanisms that influence both motor functions and vulnerability to psychosis. The prodromal period leading to psychotic disorders represents both a viable point for intervention and a developmental period that, if studied, could shed light on etiology; however, no published studies have examined the temporal progression of this link. A group with high levels of prodromal symptomatology (i.e., adolescents with schizotypal personality disorder [SPD]; n = 42) and both psychiatric controls (with other personality disorders or conduct disorder [OD]; n = 30) and nonpsychiatric controls ([NC]; n = 49) were recruited. Videotapes of structured psychiatric interviews were coded for movement abnormalities by raters blind to participants' diagnostic status, and follow-up assessments were conducted 1 year later. Controlling for psychotropic medications, the authors found that adolescents with SPD exhibited significantly more motor abnormalities in the face and upper body than did OD and NC controls. At baseline, movement abnormalities were positively correlated with the severity of positive, negative, and total prodromal symptoms. Within the SPD group, baseline movement abnormalities predicted symptom severity 1 year later. Movement abnormalities represent an early risk indicator that may be predictive of later symptom severity and potentially of psychosis onset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Movement abnormality
  • Prodromal
  • Schizotypal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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