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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1996 Nov;94(5):311-9.

Symptoms at index admission as predictor for 1-5 year outcome in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ulleråker, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


A total of 107 drug-free schizophrenic patients (76 males and 31 females) were consecutively admitted to an emergency ward and rated for psychotic symptoms by means of 32 items from the Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale (CPRS). They were followed prospectively with ratings of social functioning by use of Strauss-Carpenter's outcome scale at 1, 3 and 5 years after index admission with the aim of determining possible early symptoms that are predictors of social outcome. In total, 59 of the patients were first admissions and had never been treated. At index admission, no difference was found in total CPRS scores between first-admission patients and chronic readmitted patients, or between male and female subjects. When subscales for positive symptoms (flights of ideas, feeling controlled, disrupted thoughts, auditory hallucinations, ideas of persecution) and negative symptoms (indecision, withdrawal, reduced speech, lack of appropriate emotions, slowness of movements) from the CPRS were applied, no relationship between the two subscales and outcome scores was found. However, in patients with a duration of the disorder of less than 24 months before index admission, high scores on both negative and positive subscales were significantly correlated with a poor 5-year outcome. No correlation was found in the group with a duration of illness of more than 24 months before index admission. It is concluded that symptoms at index admission have a predictive value for outcome in schizophrenic patients. Negative symptoms measured by use of a subscale of the CPRS have a predictive value for outcome up to 5 years after index admission, but high scores on both positive and negative symptoms are more strongly associated with a poor outcome. The duration of the symptoms before admission, as well as the kind of neuroleptic treatment given (clozapine vs. classical neuroleptics), seem to be important factors for prediction of outcome. Our data support the view that early negative symptoms in particular have a predictive value for the prognosis in schizophrenia for up to 5 years.

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