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Defines a neurological soft sign (NSS) as a particular form of deviant performance on a motor or sensory test in a neurological status examination. In the present study, 63 male and 26 female 17-yr-olds who had NSSs at 7 yrs of age were compared with sex- and age-matched controls with no NSSs at age 7 yrs. Data obtained on Ss included behavioral and neurological examination at age 7 yrs and psychiatric, neurologic, and IQ (e.g., WAIS) assessment at adolescence. All 6 females and 12 of the 15 males with an anxiety-withdrawal diagnosis and 13 of the 20 males with an affective diagnosis had had NSSs at 7 yrs of age. The relationship between number of NSSs and rate of anxiety-withdrawal disorder in both males and females was linear. Correlational and regression analyses indicated that the relationship between anxiety and affective disorders and the number of early NSSs was independent of IQ. Although most Ss with NSSs did not have an anxiety or affective diagnosis in later adolescence, half of those who had NSSs and who also displayed anxious dependent behavior during psychological testing at age 7 yrs showed anxiety or affective disturbance in later adolescence.


This work was originally published in Archives of General Psychiatry, available at doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790270028003. Copyright © 1985, American Medical Association.


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