Rethinking the Course of Psychotic Disorders: Modelling Long-Term Symptom Trajectories

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The clinical course of psychotic disorders is highly variable. Typically, researchers have captured different course types using broad pre-defined categories. However, whether these adequately capture symptom trajectories of psychotic disorders has not been fully assessed. Using data from AESOP-10, we sought to identify classes of individuals with specific symptom trajectories over a 10-year follow-up using a data-driven approach.

AESOP-10 is a follow-up, at 10 years, of 532 incident cases with a first episode of psychosis initially identified in south-east London and Nottingham, UK. Using extensive information on fluctuations in the presence of psychotic symptoms, we fitted growth mixture models to identify latent trajectory classes that accounted for heterogeneity in the patterns of change in psychotic symptoms over time.

We had sufficient data on psychotic symptoms during the follow-up on 326 incident patients. A four-class quadratic growth mixture model identified four trajectories of psychotic symptoms: (1) remitting-improving (58.5%); (2) late decline (5.6%); (3) late improvement (5.4%); (4) persistent (30.6%). A persistent trajectory, compared with remitting-improving, was associated with gender (more men), black Caribbean ethnicity, low baseline education and high disadvantage, low premorbid IQ, a baseline diagnosis of non-affective psychosis and long DUP. Numbers were small, but there were indications that those with a late decline trajectory more closely resembled those with a persistent trajectory.

Our current approach to categorising the course of psychotic disorders may misclassify patients. This may confound efforts to elucidate the predictors of long-term course and related biomarkers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
Early online date4 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Rethinking the Course of Psychotic Disorders: Modelling Long-Term Symptom Trajectories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this