Outcome of first-episode schizophrenia in India: longitudinal study of effect of insight and psychopathology

Balasubramanian Saravanan, K. S. Jacob, Shanthi Johnson, Martin Prince, Dinesh Bhugra, Anthony S. David

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74 Citations (Scopus)


Transcultural studies have found lack of insight to be an almost invariable feature of acute and chronic schizophrenia, but its influence on prognosis is unclear.

To investigate the relationship between insight, psychopathology and outcome of first-episode schizophrenia in Vellore, India.

Patients with a DSM–IV diagnosis of schizophrenia (n = 131) were assessed prospectively at baseline and at 6-month and 12-month follow-up. Demographic and clinical measures included insight, psychopathology, duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and social functioning. Linear and logistic regression was used to measure predictors of outcome.

Follow-up data were available for 115 patients at 1 year. All achieved remission, half of them with and half without residual symptoms. Changes in psychopathology and insight during the first 6 months and DUP strongly predicted outcome (relapse or functional impairment), controlling for baseline measures.

Outcome of schizophrenia in this setting is driven by early symptomatic improvement and is relatively favourable, in line with other studies from low- and middle-income countries. Early improvement in insight might be a useful clinical guide to future outcome. Reduction of DUP should be a target for intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454 - 459
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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