Predictors of Long-term Outcome of First-episode Schizophrenia: A Ten-year Follow-up Study
Indian Journal of Psychiatry
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Objective: Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder for which final outcomes continue to be unfavorable. The main objectives of this research were to examine and determine the baseline predictors of outcome status of first-episode schizophrenia in a long-term follow-up of ten years and of recovery ten years later.
Materials and Methods: The study was carried out in a non-governmental, psychiatric hospital and participants consisted of patients available for assessment ten years following their initial diagnosis. Outcome was assessed on clinical and social parameters. Clinical measures of outcome included psychopathology, hospitalization, and suicidality. Social parameters included quality of life functioning, employability, interpersonal functioning, and the ability to live independently.
Results: In our sample, mean positive symptoms’ score were reduced by more than 65% between baseline and endpoint. The percentage of reduction in scores of negative symptoms is much less than reduction in positive symptoms. It was observed that only 23-25% patients showed social recovery on two or three different parameters. Additionally, fewer negative symptoms, lower depression scores, and low levels of aggression at baseline predicted good outcome. A higher level of positive symptoms at baseline also predicted recovery. The two social variables that predicted later outcomes were initially high levels of work performance and the ability to live independently at baseline.
Conclusions: Clinical information is not sufficient to make an accurate prediction of outcome status; rather, outcome depends upon multiple factors (including social parameters). A major implication of this research is the argument for moving toward a comprehensive assessment of outcome and to plan management accordingly. Bringing social outcome measures to the forefront and into the communities will allow for a more patient-centric approach. It also opens newer vistas for addressing the complex interaction of clinical and social parameters.