A systematic review and meta-analysis of recovery in schizophrenia

Schizophr Bull. 2013 Nov;39(6):1296-306. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbs130. Epub 2012 Nov 20.


Objective: Our primary aims were (a) to identify the proportion of individuals with schizophrenia and related psychoses who met recovery criteria based on both clinical and social domains and (b) to examine if recovery was associated with factors such as gender, economic index of sites, and selected design features of the study. We also examined if the proportions who met our definition of recovery had changed over time.

Method: A comprehensive search strategy was used to identify potential studies, and data were extracted for those that met inclusion criteria. The proportion who met our recovery criteria (improvements in both clinical and social domains and evidence that improvements in at least 1 of these 2 domains had persisted for at least 2 years) was extracted from each study. Meta-regression techniques were used to explore the association between the recovery proportions and the selected variables.

Results: We identified 50 studies with data suitable for inclusion. The median proportion (25%-75% quantiles) who met our recovery criteria was 13.5% (8.1%-20.0%). Studies from sites in countries with poorer economic status had higher recovery proportions. However, there were no statistically significant differences when the estimates were stratified according to sex, midpoint of intake period, strictness of the diagnostic criteria, duration of follow-up, or other design features.

Conclusions: Based on the best available data, approximately, 1 in 7 individuals with schizophrenia met our criteria for recovery. Despite major changes in treatment options in recent decades, the proportion of recovered cases has not increased.

Keywords: epidemiology; outcome studies; prognosis; psychosis; recovery; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Schizophrenia*