Indexed on: 26 May '04Published on: 26 May '04Published in: Psychiatry Research
There remains uncertainty regarding any progressive nature of psychopathology and cognitive dysfunction in late-stage schizophrenia, and whether duration of initially untreated psychosis (DUP) might be associated with such 'progression'. This study examines longitudinally, over 3 years, the psychopathology and neuropsychology in 82 inpatients with DSM-IV schizophrenia, many of whom were admitted in the pre-neuroleptic era. Increase in executive dysfunction exceeded that in general cognitive impairment. Positive but not negative symptom severity decreased modestly; the primary predictor of negative symptom severity was DUP. On index assessment, psychopathology evidenced a three-factor structure; at follow-up, psychomotor poverty evidenced greater prominence and cohesion, and was on both occasions predicted primarily by DUP, while reality distortion was altered and disorganisation disassembled into alternative elements. It would appear that as years of chronic, refractory illness accrue, psychomotor poverty becomes more sharply delineated and dominant within the overall structure of psychopathology, and its prominence is predicted enduringly by DUP.