Premorbid functional development and conversion to psychosis in clinical high-risk youths

Dev Psychopathol. 2013 Nov;25(4 Pt 1):1171-86. doi: 10.1017/S0954579413000448.


Deterioration in premorbid functioning is a common feature of schizophrenia, but sensitivity to psychosis conversion among clinical high-risk samples has not been examined. This study evaluates premorbid functioning as a predictor of psychosis conversion among a clinical high-risk sample, controlling for effects of prior developmental periods. Participants were 270 clinical high-risk individuals in the North American Prodrome Longitudinal Study-I, 78 of whom converted to psychosis over the next 2.5 years. Social, academic, and total maladjustment in childhood, early adolescence, and late adolescence were rated using the Cannon-Spoor Premorbid Adjustment Scale. Early adolescent social dysfunction significantly predicted conversion to psychosis (hazard ratio = 1.30, p = .014), independently of childhood social maladjustment and independently of severity of most baseline positive and negative prodromal symptoms. Baseline prodromal symptoms of disorganized communication, social anhedonia, suspiciousness, and diminished ideational richness mediated this association. Early adolescent social maladjustment and baseline suspiciousness together demonstrated moderate positive predictive power (59%) and high specificity (92.1%) in predicting conversion. Deterioration of academic and total functioning, although observed, did not predict conversion to psychosis. Results indicate early adolescent social dysfunction to be an important early predictor of conversion. As such, it may be a good candidate for inclusion in prediction algorithms and could represent an advantageous target for early intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prodromal Symptoms
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Risk
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Social Adjustment*