Objective: A major focus of early intervention research is determining the risk of conversion to psychosis and developing optimal algorithms of prediction. Although reported rates of nonconversion vary in the literature, the nonconversion rate always encompasses a majority (50%-85%) of the sample participants. Less is known about the outcome among this group, referred to as false positive individuals.
Method: A longitudinal study was conducted of more than 300 prospectively identified treatment-seeking individuals meeting criteria for a psychosis-risk syndrome. Participants were recruited and evaluated across eight clinical research centers as part of the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study. Over a 2.5-year follow-up assessment period, 214 (71%) participants had not made the transition to psychosis.
Results: The sample examined included 111 individuals who had at least 1 year of follow-up data available and did not transition to psychosis within the study duration. In year 1, there was significant improvement in ratings for attenuated positive and negative symptoms. However, at least one attenuated positive symptom was still present for 43% of the sample at 1 year and for 41% at 2 years. At the follow-up timepoints, social and role functioning were significantly poorer in the clinical sample relative to nonpsychiatric comparison subjects.
Conclusions: Help-seeking individuals who meet prodromal criteria appear to represent those who are truly at risk for psychosis and are showing the first signs of illness, those who remit in terms of the symptoms used to index clinical high-risk status, and those who continue to have attenuated positive symptoms.