Objectives: Previous literature suggests that early psychosis (EP) patients with a history of offending behavior (HOB) have specific clinical needs. The aims of this study were to assess: (1) the prevalence of HOB in a representative sample of EP; (2) the premorbid and baseline characteristics of patients with HOB, and (3) the potential differences in short-term outcome of such patients when compared to patients without HOB.
Methods: The Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) admitted 786 EP patients between 1998 and 2000. Data were collected from patients' files using a standardized questionnaire. Data of 647 patients could be analyzed.
Results: HOB patients (29% of the sample) were more likely to be male with lower level of premorbid functioning and education, have used illicit substances and have attempted suicide. They presented with a more complex clinical picture and had poorer 18-month outcome. Most importantly, they had a significantly longer duration of untreated psychosis.
Conclusions: On the basis of the high prevalence and specific features of EP patients with HOB, our study confirms a need for additional research in this domain and for the development of specific treatment strategies. Most importantly, it suggests a need for the promotion of early detection strategies among the populations of young offenders, considering that some of them may be going through the early phases of a psychotic disorder and that reduction of treatment delay and provision of well adapted interventions may have a significant impact at numerous levels in such patients.
Keywords: Duration of untreated psychosis; Early psychosis; Offending behavior; Outcome.
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