Smell identification deficits are consistently found in schizophrenia (SZ), but little is known about the nature and characterization of this deficit or its relationship to the phenomenology of the illness. This study aims to further delineate smell identification errors in SZ by examining the relationship of patient demographic differences with smell-identification performance. Our results showed that a patient's gender and education were related to odor-identification scores, with better performance seen in female patients and in those with greater educational attainment. However, there was no effect related to age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status on odor identification. A smell identification deficit was also unrelated to clinical characteristics of the patients, including age at first hospitalization, number of psychiatric hospitalizations, and duration of illness. Odor identification also did not differ by SZ subtype, nor between SZ and schizoaffective disorder patients. These findings emphasize that odor identification deficits in SZ are unrelated to clinical illness features, cannot be explained by other confounds related to olfaction in the general population, and may be core features related to the SZ disease process.
CNS spectrums 02/2002; 7(1):43-8. · 1.30 Impact Factor