Staging of Schizophrenia With the Use of PANSS: An International Multi-Center Study

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2019 Nov 1;22(11):681-697. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyz053.


Introduction: A specific clinically relevant staging model for schizophrenia has not yet been developed. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the factor structure of the PANSS and develop such a staging method.

Methods: Twenty-nine centers from 25 countries contributed 2358 patients aged 37.21 ± 11.87 years with schizophrenia. Analysis of covariance, Exploratory Factor Analysis, Discriminant Function Analysis, and inspection of resultant plots were performed.

Results: Exploratory Factor Analysis returned 5 factors explaining 59% of the variance (positive, negative, excitement/hostility, depression/anxiety, and neurocognition). The staging model included 4 main stages with substages that were predominantly characterized by a single domain of symptoms (stage 1: positive; stages 2a and 2b: excitement/hostility; stage 3a and 3b: depression/anxiety; stage 4a and 4b: neurocognition). There were no differences between sexes. The Discriminant Function Analysis developed an algorithm that correctly classified >85% of patients.

Discussion: This study elaborates a 5-factor solution and a clinical staging method for patients with schizophrenia. It is the largest study to address these issues among patients who are more likely to remain affiliated with mental health services for prolonged periods of time.

Keywords: illness course; outcome; schizophrenia; staging.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease Progression*
  • Europe
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schizophrenia / classification
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Sotos Syndrome
  • Young Adult