Duration of untreated psychosis and cognitive functioning

Charlotte Rapp, Erich Studerus, Hilal Bugra, Jacqueline Aston, Corinne Tamagni, Anna Walter, Marlon Pflueger, Stefan Borgwardt, Anita Riecher-Rössler*

*Corresponding author for this work
23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Studies examining the influence of duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) or duration of untreated illness (DUI) on cognition vary with regard to results and methods. This study is the first in this field to include an at risk mental state with later transition to psychosis (ARMS-T) sample and to analyse how the DUI relates to their cognitive functioning. Because methodological operationalization of cognitive functioning in previous studies is highly heterogeneous, we aimed to compare different approaches. Method: 60 first episode psychosis (FEP) patients and 24 ARMS-T patients were examined. Associations between DUP, DUI and neurocognitive performance were tested by three different operationalizations of cognition: as the raw outcome measure of different neuropsychological tests, as outcome scores which were normed on a sample of 75 healthy participants, and as the deterioration index (DI). Results: There were no significant correlations between DUP or DUI and outcome of neuropsychological tests in both normed and raw scores. When adjusted for covariates, DUP and DUI also did not significantly predict any cognitive performance. There was no significant relationship between DUP or DUI and the DI index. However, longer DUP and DUI were significantly associated with stronger negative symptoms. Conclusions: This study could not confirm an association between duration of untreated psychosis or duration of untreated illness and neurocognitive performance in the ARMS-T and FEP samples. This could be because schizophrenic psychoses are neurodevelopmental disorders in which most cognitive deficits exist long before the onset of psychiatric symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 04.2013


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