Clinical high at-risk mental state in young subjects accessing a mental disorder prevention service in Italy

Psychiatry Res. 2022 Oct;316:114710. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2022.114710. Epub 2022 Jul 3.


We aim to assess how functioning, depressive symptoms, and psychotic symptoms are associated with different numbers of Clinical High At-Risk Mental State (CHARMS) categories. In this cross-sectional study, we assessed 62 help-seeking subjects aged 15-24 with a drop in functioning, with Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5, Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS), Comprehensive Assessment of At-Risk Mental State to define risk for psychosis, Hamilton Depression Rating scale (HAM-D), Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale, 6 items (PANSS-6). CHARMS criteria were assessed via retrospective chart review. Overall, 30.6% did not meet any CHARMS component criteria at baseline (CHARMS-), 27.4%, 33.9% and 8.1% met one, two, and three or more CHARMS groups. Overall, 48.8% met criteria for ultra-high risk for psychosis (17.7% without other CHARMS categories), 25.8% risk of borderline personality disorder (3.2% alone), 35.5% mild depression (8.1% alone), 11.3% risk of bipolar disorder (1.6% alone). SOFAS score and HAM-D score worsened from CHARMS- to three or more CHARMS categories, whilst PANSS-6 score did not. In a multivariate regression only PANSS-6 (beta=-1.105, p<0.001) was associated with SOFAS (R2=0.385). Help-seeking youth with poor functioning present symptoms meeting CHARMS criteria. Meeting criteria for multiple CHARMS categories is associated with increased depressive, but not psychotic symptoms, while psychotic symptoms play a prominent role in determining functional impairment. Results should be interpreted within the limitations of the study including the small sample size and the cross-sectional design, and need further replications.

Keywords: At risk mental state; Bipolar disorder; Borderline personality disorder; Depression; Psychosis; Transdiagnostic; Ultra-high risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bipolar Disorder* / diagnosis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies