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Original Research

Patient-Level Predictors and Clinical Correlates of Duration of Untreated Psychosis Among Hospitalized First-Episode Patients

Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH; Tynessa L. Gordon, PhD; Sandra M. Goulding, MPH; Michelle L. Esterberg, MPH, MA; Tandrea Carter, PhD; Amy S. Leiner, PhD; Paul S. Weiss, MS; Benjamin G. Druss, MD, MPH; Elaine F. Walker, PhD; and Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD

Published: February 15, 2011

Article Abstract

Objective: Duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) has been associated with poor early course outcomes of nonaffective psychotic disorders; however, less is known about predictors of DUP. This study examined patient-level predictors of DUP and clinical correlates of both DUP and duration of untreated illness (DUI), both of which have been implicated as prognostic indicators.

Method: Participants included 109 first-episode patients hospitalized in 3 public-sector inpatient psychiatric units serving an urban, socially disadvantaged, predominantly African American community. DUP, DUI, and a number of clinical and psychosocial variables were measured using standardized methods. Patients were diagnosed with schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders according to the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders.

Results: The median DUP and DUI were 22.3 and 129.9 weeks, respectively. Survival analyses revealed that, at any given time point, patients not living with family members were, on average, about 1.5 times as likely to be hospitalized as those living with family when controlling for mode of onset of psychosis. Patients not living in poverty were, on average, about 1.6 times as likely to be hospitalized as those living in poverty when controlling for mode. A greater burden of negative symptoms was associated with longer DUP (r = 0.23, P = .02), and poorer insight was associated with longer DUI (r = -0.24, P = .01). Longer DUP and DUI were associated with diverse adverse clinical characteristics, such as greater impairment in global functioning, poorer social functioning, and more psychosocial problems.

Conclusions: There is a need for early intervention efforts to be directed to families (and their loved ones who live with them with emerging psychotic disorders or frank untreated psychotic syndromes), particularly families facing major socioeconomic challenges.

J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(2):225-232

Submitted: September 17, 2009; accepted December 14, 2009 (doi:10.4088/JCP.09m05704yel).

Corresponding author: Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 49 Jesse Hill Jr Drive, SE, Room #333, Atlanta, GA 30303 (

Volume: 72

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