Prediction of outcome following a first episode of schizophrenia. A follow-up study of Northwick Park first episode study subjects.
Geddes J., Mercer G., Frith CD., MacMillan F., Owens DG., Johnstone EC.
BACKGROUND: Although previous studies have attempted to identify predictors of outcome in schizophrenia, few have prospectively studied first episode patients for an adequate follow-up period. METHOD: The psychopathological predictors of outcome were investigated in a subgroup of 51 subjects, originally included in the Northwick Park study of first episode schizophrenia who were followed up 7.3 years (s.d. 1.1, range 5.3-10.3) after first admission in the Harrow study. Forty-four subjects (24 men, 20 women) were traced. Outcome measures were time to first readmission, occupational level and total duration of hospital admission at five years after first admission. RESULTS: A survival analysis of time to first relapse revealed that the presence of subjective feelings of depression (CATEGO syndrome SD) during the first admission was associated with early relapse while the presence of depressive delusions (CATEGO syndrome DD) and higher educational attainment protected against early relapse. Total duration of hospitalisation at five years after first onset was positively associated with the presence of CATEGO syndromes SD and OD (biological features of depression) and negatively associated with female sex. Poor occupational outcome was not significantly associated with any psychopathological predictors. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings challenge the conventional view that symptoms of depression are associated with better outcome in schizophrenia.