The differential impact of duration of untreated psychosis on functioning and quality of life: A threshold analysis

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2023 Apr;17(4):354-360. doi: 10.1111/eip.13330. Epub 2022 Jun 14.


Aim: Reduction of duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) remains a key goal of early intervention programs. While a significant body of literature suggests that a short DUP has a positive impact on outcome, little is known regarding the threshold above which various dimensions of outcome are impaired. In this study, we explore the DUP threshold that best discriminates subgroups with poorer outcome regarding global functioning and quality of life after 3 years of treatment.

Method: A total of 432 patients were followed-up prospectively over 3 years. Several hypothetical cut-off points for DUP were tested in order to maximize differences in effect size for quality of life and general functioning.

Results: While a DUP cut-off of 86 weeks defined two subpopulations with a difference of greatest effect size in quality of life after 3 years, it is already at a cut-off of 3 weeks of DUP that two subpopulations with a difference in global functioning of the greatest effect size was reached.

Conclusion: DUP seems to have a differential impact on the various components of outcome, and in particular on quality of life and global functioning. Our data suggest that aiming at very short DUP is justified, but that DUP over 3 weeks are still compatible with good quality of life after 3 years of treatment.

Keywords: duration of untreated psychosis; early intervention; functioning; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psychotic Disorders* / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Schizophrenia* / therapy
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Time Factors