Aim: Duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) has been associated with negative symptoms in several studies; however, longitudinal findings have been inconsistent. No previous study has accounted for active psychosis after presentation, although this could impact on outcomes in a manner similar to DUP.
Methods: We measured Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms at frequent intervals during the 12 months after initial presentation to determine the active psychosis duration for 230 individuals with first-episode psychosis. This duration was added to DUP prior to presentation to create a new variable, duration of active psychosis (DAP). Negative symptoms were divided into expressivity and motivation/pleasure domains as measured by Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS). The relationship of DUP and DAP with negative symptoms at 24-month follow up was determined and confounders controlled for using regression analysis.
Results: When DUP and DAP were compared as binary variables with long and short groups, 25.2% of individuals had differing category membership. DAP had a significant uncorrected association with both expressivity domain and motivation/pleasure domains at 24 months; however, relationship with DUP was not significant. DAP remained a significant predictor of 24-month expressivity domain after controlling for potential confounders.
Conclusions: Active psychosis after presentation is substantial, which is a limitation of DUP studies if active psychosis is considered as the key factor within DUP. DAP is a better predictor of negative symptoms than DUP at 2-year follow up, which suggests this concept requires further research.
Keywords: active psychosis; duration of untreated psychosis; first-episode psychosis; negative symptom; schizophrenia.
© 2015 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.