Clinical Validity of DSM-5 Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome: Advances in Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment

JAMA Psychiatry. 2020 Mar 1;77(3):311-320. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3561.


Importance: Since the release of the DSM-5 diagnosis of attenuated psychosis syndrome (DSM-5-APS) in 2013, several research studies have investigated its clinical validity. Although critical and narrative reviews have reviewed these progresses, no systematic review has comprehensively summarized the available evidence regarding the clinical validity of DSM-5-APS.

Objective: To provide current evidence on the clinical validity of DSM-5-APS, focusing on recent advances in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

Evidence review: A multistep literature search using the Web of Science database, Cochrane Central Register of Reviews, Ovid/PsychINFO, conference proceedings, and trial registries from database inception to June 16, 2019, was conducted following PRISMA and MOOSE guidelines and PROSPERO protocol. Studies with original data investigating individuals diagnosed using DSM-5-APS or meeting comparable criteria were included. The results of the systematic review were summarized in tables and narratively synthesized against established evidence-based antecedent, concurrent, and prognostic validators. A quantitative meta-analysis was conducted to explore the cumulative risk of psychosis onset at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months in individuals diagnosed using DSM-5-APS criteria.

Findings: The systematic review included 56 articles, which reported on 124 validators, including 15 antecedent, 55 concurrent, and 54 prognostic validators. The epidemiological prevalence of the general non-help-seeking young population meeting DSM-5-APS criteria was 0.3%; the prevalence of individuals meeting DSM-5-APS criteria was variable in clinical samples. The interrater reliability for DSM-5-APS criteria was comparable with that of other DSM-5 mental disorders and can be optimized by the use of specific psychometric instruments. DSM-5-APS criteria were associated with frequent depressive comorbid disorders, distress, suicidality, and functional impairment. The meta-analysis included 23 prospective cohort studies, including 2376 individuals. The meta-analytical risk of psychosis onset was 11% at 6 months, 15% at 12 months, 20% at 24 months, and 23% at 36 months. Research into predisposing and precipitating epidemiological factors, neurobiological correlates, and effective treatments for DSM-5-APS criteria has been limited.

Conclusions and relevance: Over recent years, DSM-5-APS criteria have received substantial concurrent and prognostic validation, mostly driven by research into the clinical high-risk state for psychosis. Precipitating and predisposing factors, neurobiological correlates, and effective treatments are undetermined to date.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Prognosis
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychotic Disorders / therapy
  • Reproducibility of Results