Distractibility in children vulnerable to psychopathology

Philip Harvey, Ken C. Winters, Sheldon Weintraub, John M. Neale

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Evaluated children (mean age 15.25 yrs) of schizophrenics (n = 36), unipolars (n = 57), bipolars (n = 60), and normals (n = 65) on a digit span measure of distractibility with the distraction and nondistraction conditions matched for discrimination power. Whereas there were no between-groups differences in performance in the nondistraction condition, children of schizophrenics and unipolars performed more poorly than children of normal parents in the distraction condition. Analyses of serial position curves revealed that children of schizophrenics performed more poorly on primacy as compared to recency portions of distraction trials. This finding differentiated children with a schizophrenic parent from children in each of the other groups. Results indicate that children of schizophrenics have a deficit in controlled information processing. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)298-304
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1981
Externally publishedYes


  • nature of parent mental disorder, distractibility in discrimination task, 13-18 yr old children of schizophrenic vs bipolar vs unipolar disordered parents


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