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Accuracy of online schizophrenia tests

Updated on October 3, 2011

Schizophrenia shares symptoms with other mental health conditions, like depression and bipolar disorder. A schizophrenia test is a critical component of the process of diagnosis.

The peculiar point about schizophrenia is that there is no designated test to prove its presence.

Doctors and psychiatrists must eliminate the possibility of other conditions before establishing that a patient has schizophrenia.

Online schizophrenia tests

The online schizophrenia test is not one of the tests that psychiatrists use to evaluate patients. Instead, it provides a self-diagnosis tool for persons to decide if they need to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

Getting a schizophrenia test online is really a screening test to determine whether the respondent has schizophrenia or some other condition. Its accuracy is contingent on the respondent’s answer being honest and reliable. It also depends on the test being robust and scoring reflective of the process of schizophrenia diagnosis.

Online schizophrenia tests usually contain a few questions (around ten on average). Each question describes a manifestation of major symptom of schizophrenia, such as withdrawal or hearing voices. Respondents are required to choose how well the symptom described matches their own.

Usually, the online tests give at least five options, like “not at all” to “definitely.” Some tests give as many as seven options, with one being “not sure.” Once the respondent answers all the questions, the test is then scored.


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Conditions for schizophrenia

  • Two common symptoms of schizophrenia are present
  • Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are present for periods within a month
  • The respondent experiences reduced ability to perform
  • The patient had the symptoms for at least six months

For specific forms of schizophrenia, the conditions are more specific. For example, a paranoid schizophrenia test ensures that the following conditions are satisfied:

  • Preoccupation with at least one delusion
  • Frequent auditory hallucinations

Assessing the accuracy of online tests

The accuracy of an online schizophrenia test depends primarily on the honesty of the answers. Since this is entirely subjective and is a self-diagnosis, the validity and reliability of the result can pose a problem.

For instance, persons who experience symptoms of psychosis might be loathe to admit that something is wrong with them, so their response to the question would prejudice the result.

Some schizophrenia tests online do not factor in the length of time the symptoms are experienced. The focus is on how many symptoms, which is not bad in itself. However, the tests should also focus on the period for which the symptoms are experienced in order to be more accurate. Another inherent limitation of the schizophrenia test is that it does not cover the diverse range of schizophrenia symptoms.

When the schizophrenia test ends and the respondent clicks “score,” it returns a numeric value. The higher the numeric value, the likelier it is that the person has symptoms of schizophrenia. However, it is not a foolproof method of assessing schizophrenia. A more reliable screening test would include many more symptoms.


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