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Niger Postgrad Med J. 2020 Jan-Mar;27(1):21-29. doi: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_127_19.

Naturalistic clinical and psychosocial outcome of incident cases of schizophrenia in Enugu Federal Psychiatric Hospital: A preliminary report at 4-month follow-up.

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Mental Health Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria.



Longitudinal outcome studies based on incident and predominantly neuroleptic-naïve cases of schizophrenia are uncommon in the modern literature.


To determine the proportion of persons with schizophrenia with different levels of clinical and functional outcome at monthly intervals of naturalistic treatment follow-up for 4 months: response, remission and recovery; and to examine the predictors of outcome.

Subjects and Methods:

Consecutive incident cases that fulfilled stringent criteria for schizophrenia were recruited into the study. After a baseline assessment, 160 incident cases of schizophrenia were followed up 4-weekly for indicators of symptomatic and functional outcome for 16 weeks. Standard rating scales were used to assess clinical and functional outcome. Sociodemographic and clinical variables were evaluated as predictors of outcome using multiple regression analysis.


The attrition rate at week 16 was 29.4%; hence, 113 subjects (out of 160) were available for assessment at the end of follow-up. Of the 113, 66.4%, by Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), met criteria for response (i.e., >50% reduction), while 20.3% could be judged to be clinically non-responsive to treatment (i.e., <20% decrease). Also, 60.2%, by BPRS, met the criteria for remission, while 44.5% met the criteria for recovery. The most important predictor, at week 16, of clinical and psychosocial outcome was social support (48.7%-51.8% of variance).


Although as a preliminary report, the present findings are hypothesis-generating, the implication of the results is that, as a group, over a 4-month period of modern hospital treatment, schizophrenia patients who were incident cases progressively experienced significant reduction in psychopathology. The findings, therefore, support earlier international cross-cultural reports of relatively good clinical outcome from developing countries, thereby encouraging the idea of treatment optimism in schizophrenia in Africa.


Incident cases; naturalistic; outcome; predictors; schizophrenia

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