Background: There is evidence that the stage of illness at which antipsychotic treatment is initiated in schizophrenia may have consequences for its subsequent course. How this might relate to impaired adaptive life functioning in the long-term is poorly understood.
Methods: Thirty-eight inpatients, many of whom had been admitted in the preneuroleptic era, were assessed using the Social-Adaptive Functioning Evaluation (SAFE); constituent clinical and medication phases of the lifetime trajectory of their illnesses were then analyzed to identify predictors of SAFE score using multiple regression modeling.
Results: The primary, independent predictor of SAFE score was duration of initially unmedicated psychosis, which accounted for 22% of variance (p < .001) therein. Conversely, duration of subsequently treated illness, although decades longer, failed to predict SAFE score.
Conclusions: These findings are consistent with some form of “progressive” process, particularly over the first several years following the emergence of psychosis, which is associated with accrual of deficits in adaptive life functioning.
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Accepted: January 11, 2000
Received in revised form: December 13, 1999
Received: August 19, 1999
© 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.