Identification and Characterization of Prodromal Risk Syndromes in Young Adolescents in the Community: A Population-Based Clinical Interview Study

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Abstract

While a great deal of research has been conducted on prodromal risk syndromes in relation to help-seeking individuals who present to the clinic, there is a lack of research on prodromal risk syndromes in the general population. The current study aimed first to establish whether prodromal risk syndromes could be detected in non-help-seeking community-based adolescents and secondly to characterize this group in terms of Axis-1 psychopathology and general functioning. We conducted in-depth clinical interviews with a population sample of 212 school-going adolescents in order to assess for prodromal risk syndromes, Axis-1 psychopathology, and global (social/occupational) functioning. Between 0.9% and 8% of the community sample met criteria for a risk syndrome, depending on varying disability criteria. The risk syndrome group had a higher prevalence of co-occurring nonpsychotic Axis-1 psychiatric disorders (OR = 4.77, 95% CI = 1.81–12.52; P < .01) and poorer global functioning (F = 24.5, df = 1, P < .0001) compared with controls. Individuals in the community who fulfill criteria for prodromal risk syndromes demonstrate strong similarities with clinically presenting risk syndrome patients not just in terms of psychotic symptom criteria but also in terms of co-occurring psychopathology and global functioning.

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