Purpose: We report clinical and social outcomes of schizophrenia in the longitudinal, population-based Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, and describe associated demographic, developmental and illness-related factors.
Subjects and methods: Subjects with DSM-III-R schizophrenia (n=59) were followed prospectively from mid-gestation up to age 35 years. Outcome measures included positive and negative symptoms, psychiatric hospitalisations, social and occupational functioning. Several definitions of good and poor outcome were explored, and developmental, socio-demographic and clinical predictors of outcomes were analysed.
Results: Good clinical outcome varied from 10% to 59%, and good social outcome 15-46%, depending on definition. Poor clinical outcome varied 41-77% and poor social 37-54%. Lack of friends in childhood, father's high social class, lower school performance and earlier age of illness onset predicted poor outcomes.
Discussion: The outcomes of schizophrenia in this study depended on definitions used but were relatively poor. The age of illness onset, father's social class, school performance and poor social contacts in childhood were only statistically significant predictors.
Conclusion: Definitions of outcome have a major effect on estimates for proportions of good and bad outcomes and on the predictors of outcomes. However, regardless of which definitions were used, the outcome of schizophrenia in this population-based sample was generally bleak.