Schizophrenia may cause disability leading to restrictions on many domains of daily life such as hygiene, self-management, vocational and leisure activities, and family and social relationships. The aim of this study was to assess the level of disability with the Brief Disability Questionnaire (BDQ), developed by the World Health Organization, and to identify the clinical correlates and predictors of disability during a 1-year follow-up period in 382 patients with schizophrenia. All patients were assessed at the beginning of the study, and 168 (44%) of them were re-evaluated after 1 year. Total disability scores of the patients with schizophrenia were significantly decreased at follow-up. Female patients seemed to be more disabled than males.. Disability showed a positive correlation with the total, positive symptoms and negative symptoms scores on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, as well as scores on the UKU Side Effects Rating Scale. Patients with the disorganized subtype of schizophrenia and residual symptoms were more disabled than patients with other subtype diagnoses. Negative symptoms and duration of untreated psychosis were significant predictors of disability after 1 year. Early-onset schizophrenia had a twofold increased risk for developing disability. Disability in schizophrenia is a clinical phenomenon closely linked to negative symptoms and poor outcome. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.