Working alliance between patients with a first-episode psychosis and their case manager is regarded as a key element in specialized early intervention services. The impact of this patient-case manager dyad on functional and clinical outcome is unknown. We aimed to investigate if a strong working alliance was associated with fewer clinical symptoms and better social functioning.
In a cross-sectional design, patients with first-episode schizophrenia spectrum disorders (ICD-10, F20-29) were included after 18 months of treatment (N = 400). Baseline data were collected between June 2009 and December 2011. Symptoms were assessed using Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS), Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS), Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS), Working Alliance Inventory (WAI), and General Self-Efficacy (GSE). Linear regression analyses were adjusted for age, sex, cognition, and self-efficacy.
Results revealed significant associations between working alliance and fewer negative (? = -0.12; 95% CI, -0.19 to -0.04) and disorganized symptoms (? = -0.06; 95% CI, -0.11 to -0.01), and between working alliance and better social functioning (? = 1.45; 95% CI, 0.55 to 2.36). General self-efficacy mediated the effect of working alliance, explaining 14%-18% of the variance in associated outcomes. Global level of cognitive functioning, compliance, and self-efficacy influenced clinical and functional outcome more strongly than working alliance.
Better working alliance was weakly associated with fewer negative and disorganized symptoms and better social functioning. A strong working alliance may be a prerequisite for adherence to the specialized early intervention services treatment, providing the basis for positive treatment outcome.
Psychotic experiences (PE) in individuals of the general population are hypothesized to mark the early expression of the pathology underlying psychosis. This notion of PE as an intermediate phenotype is based on the premise that PE share genetic liability with psychosis. We examined whether PE in childhood was predicted by a family history of mental disorder with psychosis rather than a family history of nonpsychotic mental disorder and whether this association differed by severity of PE. The study examined data on 1632 children from a general population birth cohort assessed at age 11-12 years by use of a semistructured interview covering 22 psychotic symptoms. The Danish national registers were linked to describe the complete family history of hospital-based psychiatric diagnoses. Uni- and multivariable logistic regressions were used to test whether a family history of any mental disorder with psychosis, or of nonpsychotic mental disorder, vs no diagnoses was associated with increased risk of PE in offspring (hierarchical exposure variable). The occurrence of PE in offspring was significantly associated with a history of psychosis among the first-degree relatives (adjusted relative risk [RR] = 3.29, 95% CI: 1.82-5.93). The risk increased for combined hallucinations and delusions (adjusted RR = 5.90, 95% CI: 2.64-13.16). A history of nonpsychotic mental disorders in first-degree relatives did not contribute to the risk of PE in offspring nor did any mental disorder among second-degree relatives. Our findings support the notion of PE as a vulnerability marker of transdiagnostic psychosis. The effect of psychosis in first-degree relatives may operate through shared genetic and environmental factors.
Cites: Nat Genet. 2013 Sep;45(9):984-9423933821
Cites: Ugeskr Laeger. 2013 May 13;175(20):139923663392
Information about the cost-effectiveness of early intervention programmes for first-episode psychosis is limited.
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of an intensive early-intervention programme (called OPUS) (trial registration NCT00157313) consisting of enriched assertive community treatment, psychoeducational family treatment and social skills training for individuals with first-episode psychosis compared with standard treatment.
An incremental cost-effectiveness analysis of a randomised controlled trial, adopting a public sector perspective was undertaken.
The mean total costs of OPUS over 5 years (€123,683, s.e. = 8970) were not significantly different from that of standard treatment (€148,751, s.e. = 13073). At 2-year follow-up the mean Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score in the OPUS group (55.16, s.d. = 15.15) was significantly higher than in standard treatment group (51.13, s.d. = 15.92). However, the mean GAF did not differ significantly between the groups at 5-year follow-up (55.35 (s.d. = 18.28) and 54.16 (s.d. = 18.41), respectively). Cost-effectiveness planes based on non-parametric bootstrapping showed that OPUS was less costly and more effective in 70% of the replications. For a willingness-to-pay up to €50,000 the probability that OPUS was cost-effective was more than 80%.
The incremental cost-effectiveness analysis showed that there was a high probability of OPUS being cost-effective compared with standard treatment.
The Danish OPUS I trial randomized 547 patients with first-episode psychosis to a two-year early-specialised assertive treatment programme (OPUS) versus standard treatment. The two years OPUS treatment had significant positive effects on psychotic and negative symptoms, secondary substance abuse, treatment adherence, lower dosage of antipsychotic medication, and a higher treatment satisfaction. However, three years after end of the OPUS treatment, the positive clinical effects were not sustained, except that OPUS-treated patients were significantly less likely to be institutionalised compared with standard-treated patients. The major objective of the OPUS II trial is to evaluate the effects of five years of OPUS treatment versus two years of OPUS treatment.
The OPUS II trial is designed as a randomized, open label, parallel group trial with blinded outcome assessment. Based on our sample size estimation, 400 patients treated in OPUS for two years will be randomized to further three years of OPUS treatment versus standard treatment. The specialized assertive OPUS treatment consists of three core elements: assertive community treatment, psycho-educational family treatment, and social skills training.
It has been hypothesized that there is a critical period from onset up to five years, which represents a window of opportunity where a long-term course can be influenced. Extending the specialized assertive OPUS treatment up to five years may allow the beneficial effects to continue beyond the high-risk period, through consolidation of improved social and functional outcome.
The early phases of psychosis have been hypothesized to constitute a critical period, a window of opportunity. At the same time, the early phases of psychosis are associated with increased risk of unwanted outcome, such as suicidal behaviour and social isolation. This was the background for the emergence of early intervention services, and in Denmark, the OPUS trial was initiated as part of that process.
Modified assertive community treatment, together with family involvement and social skills training, constituted the core elements in the original programme. A total of 547 patients with first-episode psychosis were included in the trial.
To summarize briefly the results of the OPUS trial: the OPUS treatment was superior to standard treatment in reducing psychotic and negative symptoms and substance abuse, in increasing user satisfaction and adherence to treatment, and in reducing use of bed days and days in supported housing. Moreover, relatives included in the OPUS treatment were less strained and had a higher level of knowledge about schizophrenia and higher user satisfaction.
The OPUS treatment was implemented throughout Denmark. Training courses were developed and manuals and books were published. Regional health authorities had access to national grants for implementing early intervention services; as a result, OPUS teams were disseminated throughout the country. The content of the treatment is now further developed, and new elements are being tried out - such as individual placement and support, lifestyle changes, cognitive remediation, specialized treatment for substance abuse and different kinds of user involvement.
Epidemiological data on the distribution, persistence, and clinical correlates of health anxiety (HA) in childhood are scarce. We investigated continuity of HA symptoms and associated health problems and medical costs in primary health services in a general population birth cohort. HA symptoms were assessed in 1886 Danish 11-12 year old children (48 % boys) from the Copenhagen Child Cohort using the Childhood Illness Attitude Scales (CIAS) together with information on socio-demographics and the child's somatic and mental status and healthcare expenditure. Non-parametric statistics and regression analysis were used to compare groups with low (n?=?184), intermediate (n?=?1539), and high (n?=?161) HA symptom scores. The association between HA symptoms assessed at age 5-7 years and HA symptoms at ages 11-12 years was examined by Stuart-Maxwell test. HA symptoms were significantly associated with emotional disorders and unspecific somatic complaints, but not with chronic physical conditions. In regression analyses controlling for gender and physical comorbidity, healthcare expenditure peaked in children with the highest HA symptom score, that is these children used on average approximately 150 Euro more than children with the lowest score during the 2-year period preceding inclusion. HA symptoms at age 5-7 years were significantly associated with HA symptoms at age 11-12 years. We conclude that HA symptoms, including hypochondriacal fears and beliefs, were non-trivial in preadolescents; they showed continuity from early childhood and association with emotional disorders, unspecific somatic complaints, and increased healthcare expenditure. Further research in the clinical significance of childhood HA is required.
Survivors of childhood cancer are known to be at risk for long-term physical and mental effects. However, little is known about how cancers can affect mental health in the siblings of these patients. We aimed to assess the long-term risks of mental disorders in survivors of childhood cancer and their siblings.
Hospital contact for mental disorders was assessed in a population-based cohort of 7085 Danish children treated for cancer by contemporary protocols between 1975 and 2010 and in their 13?105 siblings by use of data from the Danish Psychiatric Central Research Registry. Hazard ratios (HRs) for first hospital contact were calculated using a Cox proportional hazards model. We compared these sibling and survivor cohorts with two population-based cohorts who were not childhood cancer survivors or siblings of survivors.
Survivors of childhood cancer were at increased risk of hospital contact for mental disorders, with HRs of 1·50 (95% CI 1·32-1·69) for males and 1·26 (1·10-1·44) for females. Children younger than 10 years at diagnosis had the highest risk, and increased risks were seen in survivors of CNS tumours, haematological malignancies, and solid tumours. Survivors had higher risk of neurodevelopmental, emotional, and behavioural disorders than population-based comparisons and siblings, and male survivors had higher risk for unipolar depression. Overall, siblings had no excess risk for mental disorders. However, our data suggest that siblings who were young at the time of cancer diagnosis of the survivor were at increased risk for mental disorders, whereas those older than 15 years at diagnosis were at a lower risk than the general population.
Childhood cancer survivors should be followed up for mental late effects, especially those diagnosed in young age. Further, clinicians should also be aware that siblings who were young at the time of cancer diagnosis might be at increased risk for mental health disorders.
This paper aims to investigate the predictors of good outcome after first-episode non-affective psychosis and the clinical and social trajectories of those that recover.
A cohort of 255 patients with first-episode non-affective psychosis was interviewed 5 years after first diagnosis and treatment. Recovery was defined as working or studying, having a GAF-function score of 60 or above, having remission of negative and psychotic symptoms, and not living in a supported housing facility or being hospitalized during the last 2 years before the five-year follow-up interview.
A total of 40 (15.7%) were found to be recovered, and 76 (29.8%) had a job or were studying after 5 years. Of those working, as many as 20 still had psychotic symptoms. Also notable is that out of the 40 recovered, less than half were recovered after 2 years. Recovery after 5 years was predicted by female sex (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.0-5.8), higher age (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.83-0.99), pre-morbid social adaptation (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.56-0.93), growing up with both parents (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.0-6.8) and low level of negative symptoms (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.77) at baseline.
Our findings suggest that a stable social life with normal social functioning has a predictive value for good outcome. These measures might be influenced by negative symptoms, but in the multivariate analysis with negative symptoms included they have an independent effect. Also our findings suggest that, after first-episode psychosis, some patients can still experience psychotic symptoms, but have a job and a fairly stable life.
Knowledge on the significance of childhood psychotic symptoms and experiences (PE) is still limited. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and clinical significance of PE in preadolescent children from the general population by use of in-depth psychopathological interviews and comprehensive diagnostic assessments.
We investigated 1,632 children from the general population-based Copenhagen Child Cohort 2000. PE were measured by semistructured interviews using the K-SADS-PL-items on psychotic and affective symptoms, each symptom scored as not present versus likely or definitely present. The Development and Well-Being Assessment (DAWBA) was used independently to diagnose DSM-IV-mental disorders. Puberty development and sleep disturbance were self-reported. The associations between PE (any lifetime hallucination and/or delusion) and various mental problems and disorders were examined by multivariable binomial regression analyses, adjusting for gender and onset of puberty.
The weighted life time prevalence of PE at age 11-12 years was 10.9% (CI 9.1-12.7). The majority of children with PE (n = 172) either had a diagnosable DSM-IV-mental disorder (31.4%) or self-reported mental health difficulties in absence of a diagnosis (31.4%). The risk of delusions increased with onset of puberty. The risk of PE increased with emotional and neurodevelopmental disorders, subthreshold depressive symptoms, sleep problems and lack of sleep, regardless of whether PE were expressed as hallucinations and/or delusions. The highest correlations were seen for emotional and multiple disorders.
Psychotic experiences are particularly prevalent in the context of affective dysregulation and sleep disturbance, increase with onset of puberty and represent a trans-diagnostic marker of psychopathology.
BACKGROUND: From an 'objective' perspective, treatment of first-episode psychosis has improved in many ways with the development of specialised early and intensive team-based treatment like e.g. the 'OPUS' treatment. However, the patients' perspective is also important and was investigated in the 'OPUS' study by analysing data concerning quality of life. AIM: We aimed to investigate the 'quality of life from patients' perspective' among a cohort of young adults with a first-episode psychosis at the time of treatment initiation and after two years. Especially, we were interested in analysing if there were any significant effects on the subjective quality of life of receiving an intensive psychosocial assertive community treatment called 'OPUS' compared to standard treatment (ST). METHOD: This study is part of the Danish 'OPUS' trial, a randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing 'treatment as usual' (standard treatment, ST) with 'OPUS' treatment. The Lancashire Quality of Life Profile (LQoLP), which is a combined objective and subjective instrument, was administered at baseline and after two years of treatment, N=280. RESULTS: The intensive 'OPUS' treatment did not affect the quality of life measured by Lancashire QoLP in a significantly different way from the standard treatment (ST). There were no significant differences in quality of life between the ST group and the OPUS group concerning the 9 life domains. Quality of life correlated with psychopathology (both psychotic and negative symptoms) to a minor extent and more strongly with the affective balance and level of self-esteem.