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[Online ahead of print]

Social and Role Functioning in Youth at Risk of Serious Mental Illness

Social and Role Functioning in Youth at Risk of Serious Mental Illness

Sylvia Romanowska et al. Early Interv Psychiatry.

Abstract

Aim: Functional impairment is common in serious mental illness (SMI). This study assessed social and role functioning in a sample of youth at risk of SMI who met different stages of risk based on a transdiagnostic clinical staging model described by McGorry and colleagues.

Method: The sample consisted of 243 male and female youths aged 12-26 and included: non-help-seeking youth with risk factors (stage 0; n = 41); youth with mild symptoms (stage 1a; n = 52); youth with attenuated psychiatric syndromes (stage 1b; n = 108); and healthy controls (HCs; n = 42). Social and role functioning were assessed with the Global Functioning: Social and Role scales.

Results: Participants in stage 1b (attenuated syndromes) had significantly poorer social and role functioning than stage 0 participants and HCs (P < .001) and poorer social functioning than stage 1a (P < .05). Stage 1a participants had significantly poorer social functioning than HCs (P < .01) and significantly poorer role functioning than stage 0 participants (P < .01). Participants in stages 1a and 1b did not significantly differ from each other in role functioning only.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that mild to moderate functional impairments are present in young people experiencing subthreshold psychiatric symptoms and distress in the absence of a diagnosable mental illness. Results partially validate the model in that social although not role functioning declines across the stages.

Keywords: at-risk; attenuated syndromes; clinical staging model; functional outcome; youth mental health.

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