During recent years of schizophrenia research, many etiologies have been emphasized, some of them implicating infectious and autoimmune diseases. Many different infectious agents have been examined, but the root seems to stem from the secondary autoimmune deregulation, which can be caused by different infectious agents. Among the effects that autoimmune deregulation has on the body, one prominent effect is on the brain, resulting in either severe or mild encephalitis. The mild encephalitis that has been implicated as one of the causes of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders has been associated with different pathogens, many of which can be transmitted by the household cat. Thus in the present research we have used the schizotypy personality construct model as an analog for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and the relationship between current schizotypy and childhood household cat interactions were examined. An online questionnaire was completed by 356 undergraduate students and assessed the current schizotypy using the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire Brief Revised (SPQ-BR), as well as questions about cat ownership and cat bites (puncturing skin) prior to age 13. While no significant relationship was found between childhood cat ownership and current schizotypy, individuals endorsing a cat bite prior to age 13 (N = 66) reported a significantly higher level of current overall schizotypy, which was largely driven by the Disorganized factor of the SPQ-BR.. This relationship should be explored further by examining the antibodies and sera of individuals with the schizophrenia spectrum disorder.
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Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Kolpakova, Jenya, "Childhood cat bites and disorganized symptoms of schizotypy in adulthood" (2013). HIM 1990-2015. 1419.