Short- and long-term changes in symptom dimensions among patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and different durations of illness: A meta-analysis

Lars de Winter*, Jentien M Vermeulen, Chrisje Couwenbergh, Jaap van Weeghel, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Cornelis L Mulder, Nynke Boonstra, Wim Veling, Lieuwe de Haan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

In schizophrenia spectrum disorders, improvement in symptoms varies between patients with short and long durations of illness. In this meta-analysis we provided an overview of both short- and long-term symptomatic improvement for patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders with distinct durations of illness. We included 82 longitudinal studies assessing the course of positive, negative, depressive and disorganization symptoms. We analyzed effect sizes of change in four subgroups based on durations of illness at baseline: <2 years, 2-5 years, 5-10 years, >10 years. Potential moderators were explored using meta-regression and sensitivity analyses. Overall, we found large improvements of positive symptoms and small improvements of negative, depressive, and disorganization symptoms. Positive and disorganization symptoms improved relatively stronger for patients earlier in the course of illness, whereas negative and depressive symptoms showed modest improvement regardless of duration of illness. Improvement of symptoms was associated with higher baseline severity of positive symptoms, a younger age, a smaller subsample with schizophrenia, and, specifically for negative symptoms, higher baseline severity of depressive symptoms. Future research should focus on exploring ways to optimize improvement in negative and depressive symptoms for patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-439
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume164
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • Course
  • Epidemiology
  • Longitudinal
  • Meta-analysis
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Symptoms

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