Movement abnormalities predict conversion to Axis I psychosis among prodromal adolescents

Vijay A. Mittal*, Elaine F. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that movement abnormalities are a precursor of psychosis. 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 authors coded movement abnormalities from videotapes of 40 adolescents at risk for psychosis (designated prodromal on the Structured Interview for Prodromal Symptoms; T. J. Miller et al., 2002). Following initial assessment, participants were evaluated for diagnostic status at 4 times annually. Ten participants converted to an Axis I psychosis (e.g., schizophrenia) over the 4-year period. Comparisons of converted and nonconverted participants at baseline indicated that the groups did not differ on demographic characteristics or levels of prodromal symptomatology, but those who converted exhibited significantly more movement abnormalities. Movement abnormalities and prodromal symptoms were strongly associated and logistic regression analyses indicated that abnormalities in the face and upper body regions were most predictive of conversion. Findings suggest that individuals with elevated movement abnormalities may represent a subgroup of prodromal adolescents who are at the highest risk for conversion. The implications for neural mechanisms and for identifying candidates for preventive intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)796-803
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Conversion
  • Movement abnormality
  • Prodromal adolescents
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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