Aim: Social withdrawal is among the first signs of the prodromal state of psychosis seen in clinical samples. The aim of this prospective study was to find out whether difficulty in making contact with others and social withdrawal precede first episode psychosis in the young general population.
Methods: The members of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 (n=6274) completed the PROD-screen questionnaire in 2001-2002. The Finnish Hospital Discharge Register was used to detect both new psychotic and non-psychotic disorders requiring hospitalisation during 2003-2008.
Results: Twenty-three subjects developed psychosis and 89 developed a non-psychotic mental disorder requiring hospitalisation during the follow-up. Of those who developed psychosis, 35% had reported difficulty or uncertainty in making contact with others and 30% social withdrawal in adolescence. In hospitalised non-psychotic disorder, the corresponding precentages were 10 and 13% and in the control group without hospital-treated mental disorder 9 and 11%. The differences between psychotic and non-psychotic hospitalised subjects (P<0.01) as well as controls (P<0.001) were statistically significant regarding difficulty or uncertainty in making contact with others.
Conclusions: In this general population-based sample self-reported difficulty or uncertainty in making contact with others in adolescence preceded psychosis specifically compared to hospitalised non-psychotic mental disorders and controls.
Keywords: Adolescent psychiatry; Epidemiology; Psychometry and assessments in psychiatry; Schizophrenia and psychosis; Social psychiatry.
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