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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2009 Sep;43(9):818-29. doi: 10.1080/00048670903107625.

Randomized controlled trial of interventions for young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis: study design and baseline characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.



Intervention during the pre-psychotic period of illness holds the potential of delaying or even preventing the onset of a full-threshold disorder, or at least of reducing the impact of such a disorder if it does develop. The first step in realizing this aim was achieved more than 10 years ago with the development and validation of criteria for the identification of young people at ultra-high risk (UHR) of psychosis. Results of three clinical trials have been published that provide mixed support for the effectiveness of psychological and pharmacological interventions in preventing the onset of psychotic disorder.


The present paper describes a fourth study that has now been undertaken in which young people who met UHR criteria were randomized to one of three treatment groups: cognitive therapy plus risperidone (CogTher + Risp: n = 43); cognitive therapy plus placebo (CogTher + Placebo: n = 44); and supportive counselling + placebo (Supp + Placebo; n = 28). A fourth group of young people who did not agree to randomization were also followed up (monitoring: n = 78). Baseline characteristics of participants are provided.


The present study improves on the previous studies because treatment was provided for 12 months and the independent contributions of psychological and pharmacological treatments in preventing transition to psychosis in the UHR cohort and on levels of psychopathology and functioning can be directly compared. Issues associated with recruitment and randomization are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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