The Relationship of Premorbid Functioning to Illness Course in Schizophrenia and Psychotic Mood Disorders During Two Years Following First Hospitalization

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Studies suggest that better premorbid functioning is associated with better outcomes in chronic schizophrenia. Yet first admission studies, which are more appropriate to examine this, are less conclusive. Also, little attention has been given to whether these findings hold for other psychoses. We examined the relationship of premorbid functioning using the Premorbid Adjustment Scale and outcomes in first admission psychoses (schizophrenia, N = 177; bipolar disorder, N = 106; major depression, N = 68) in the Suffolk County–wide mental health project. Poor premorbid functioning was associated with worse outcomes in all three diagnostic groups. Specifically, it was associated with more negative symptoms early in the course of illness, less improvement in negative symptoms, poorer overall clinical functioning, and poorer social functioning. Consistent with new epidemiological research, early assessment of premorbid functioning could provide an avenue for targeted interventions that might improve outcomes.

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