Self-reported attenuated psychotic symptoms as forerunners of severe mental disorders later in life

Nomi Werbeloff, Marjan Drukker, Bruce P. Dohrenwend, Itzhak Levav, Rinat Yoffe, Jim Van Os, Michael Davidson, Mark Weiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Context: It has been suggested that attenuated psychotic symptoms (APSs) reported by people who do not have psychotic disorders signal risk for later severe mental illness. Objective: To investigate this suggestion using followup assessments of hospitalization for clinical diagnoses of nonaffective psychotic and other psychiatric disorders. Design: Longitudinal cohort study of self-reported APSs with outcome assessment of severe mental illness obtained through linkage with a national hospitalization case registry. Setting: Israel. Participants: A stratified full probability sample of 4914 persons aged 25 to 34 years who were screened for psychopathology in the 1980s. Main OutcomeMeasure: Subsequent psychiatric hospitalization was ascertained using the psychiatric hospitalization registry, with a mean follow-up of 24 years. Results: After removing subjects with diagnosable psychotic disorders at baseline, 57.2% of the remaining sample reported at least 1 weak (infrequent) APS and 14.3% reported at least 1 strong (frequent) APS in the year preceding the assessment. Self-reported APSs predicted risk of later hospitalization for nonaffective psychotic disorders, mostly during the 5 years after baseline (adjusted odds ratio=4.31; 95% CI, 2.21-8.41; positive predictive value=1.27%; population attributable risk fraction= 33%). Also, APSs increased the risk of later hospitalization for other psychiatric disorders, albeit to a lesser extent (adjusted odds ratio=2.21; 95% CI, 1.02-4.82). Conclusions: Self-reported APSs signal risk for later nonaffective psychotic disorders but are not clinically useful as predictors. The difference between these populationbased data and the high-risk literature in terms of the positive predictive value (1% vs 10%, respectively) and the time window of transition (5 years vs 12 months, respectively) can be attributed to the selective enrichment strategies that produce high-risk samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-reported attenuated psychotic symptoms as forerunners of severe mental disorders later in life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this