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Handedness in Psychiatric Patients

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2018

J. J. Fleminger
Guy's Hospital, London SE1
R. Dalton
Department of Community Medicine, Guy's Hospital Medical School, London SE1
K. F. Standage
Department of Psychological Medicine, Guy's Hospital; St Clare's Mercy Hospital, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada


Eight hundred psychiatric patients and eight hundred controls completed a handedness preference questionnaire. There was no significant difference in handedness between the two samples, but, contrary to some previous reports, excess of sinistrality was not associated with male sex. The distribution of handedness was similar in neurotics and controls, but among psychotics in general there was a higher proportion of fully right-handed subjects. Among schizophrenics there was a significantly higher proportion of left-handed writers among males than females. There were relatively few left-handed writers of either sex among patients with affective psychosis. Female patients with personality disorders had a significantly higher proportion of mixed handedness than controls. The findings are considered in relation to suggestions that functional psychoses may be associated with asymmetrical cerebral dysfunction, and that poorly lateralized function may be related to anomalous psychological development.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 1977 

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