An impairment of premorbid adjustment (PA) has been regarded among poor prognostic indicators of schizophrenia. Some discrepancies in the literature suggest the usefulness of further characterizations of its impact on different aspects of the disease.
The present study aimed to investigate the association of poor PA with psychopathology, neurocognition and real-life functioning in patients with schizophrenia recruited within the multicenter study of the Italian network for research on psychoses. functioning during childhood and adolescence (early adjustment) was assessed also in a group of healthy controls (HC) and one of unaffected relatives of patients (UR).
Group comparisons were performed between patients with poor and those with good PA. Differences in frequency of poor early adjustment were investigated among patients, HC and UR.
Patients with poor PA, as compared to those with good PA, showed earlier age of onset, more severe negative symptoms and disorganization, greater impairment on all cognitive domains with the exception of attention/vigilance and worse real-life functioning in the considered areas (interpersonal relationships, community activities and work abilities). The pattern of poor early adjustment was more frequent in patients with respect to UR and HC and, to a less degree, in UR with respect to HC.
Our findings confirm that poor PA in schizophrenia is associated with poorer illness outcome, and offer a further characterization of PA impact on different psychopathological and cognitive domains. They also suggest that poor early adjustment is a candidate endophenotype of schizophrenia, occurring in patients and their unaffected relatives.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.