Factors related to duration of untreated psychosis of first episode schizophrenia spectrum disorder

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Duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) is associated with outcome and functioning. It is expected that scientists will find factors that modulate DUP, but thus far, research on this topic has shown inconsistent results. Furthermore, similar studies in China are insufficient. This study aims to explore social and clinical factors for DUP in South China and to learn the influence that family plays on DUP through their awareness of psychosis.


Participants included 216 patients with first episode schizophrenia spectrum disorder. The Nottingham Onset Schedule was used to assess DUP. The relationship between DUP and social and clinical characteristics were then analysed by correlation analysis, survival analysis and Cox regression analysis. The awareness of the patient's family for the cause of psychosis, the reason for treatment and the cause for delay of treatment were investigated using a questionnaire.


The median DUP was 64.5 days. Insidious onset and being unemployed were found to be risk factors for a long DUP. The family attributed the main cause of psychosis to stress. The main cause for the delay of treatment was because families misjudged the patients’ disease. More family members of long DUP patients compared to short DUP patients thought the causes were due to ideological problems or puberty, rather than to mental health.


The results of this study indicated that some social or clinical characteristics influence DUP. The family's awareness plays an important role when seeking help. To reduce DUP, the public needs more knowledge of mental illness.

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