Neurological soft signs: One-year stability and relationship to psychiatric symptoms in boys

Daniel S. Pine, Gail A. Wasserman, Jane E. Fried, Michael Parides, David Shaffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objective: This study had two main objectives: (1) to examine the 1- Year stability of neurological soft signs and (2) to examine the longitudinal relationship between soft signs and psychiatric symptoms in young boys. Method: A consecutive series of 56 boys from a high-risk sample received standardized psychiatric and soft sign assessments at study intake. Approximately 1 year later, 48 (86%) of these boys received a reassessment of their psychiatric and soft sign status. Results: Soft signs exhibited marked stability across the 1-year period (intraclass correlation = .70, p < .001). Symptoms of both internalizing and externalizing disorders correlated with poor performance on the soft sign examination. For both internalizing and externalizing symptoms, the association with soft signs occurred primarily among individuals with persistently high scores on symptom scales across the two assessments. Conclusions: Performance on a standardized neurological soft sign examination is stable over a 1-year period. Soft signs measured with this examination relate to both internalizing and externalizing symptoms in young boys particularly when symptoms are relatively stable over time. Further research should consider the clinical significance of childhood soft signs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1579-1586
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Emotional disorders
  • Soft signs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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