The nosology of the psychosis high-risk state is controversial. Traditionally conceived as an ‘at risk’ state for the development of psychotic disorders, it is also conceptualised as a clinical syndrome associated with functional impairment.
To investigate meta-analytically the functional status of patients at high clinical risk for psychosis and its association with longitudinal outcomes.
Three meta-analyses compared level of functioning (n = 3012) and quality of life (QoL) (n = 945) between a high-risk group, a healthy control group and group with psychosis, and baseline functioning in people in the high-risk group who did or did not have a transition to psychosis at follow-up (n = 654).
People at high risk had a large impairment in functioning (P<0.001) and worse QoL (P = 0.001) than the healthy control group, but only small to moderately better functioning (P = 0.012) and similar QoL (P = 0.958) compared with the psychosis group. Among the high-risk group, those who did not develop psychosis reported better functioning (P = 0.001) than those who did.
Our results indicate that the high-risk state is characterised by consistent and large impairments of functioning and reduction in QoL similar to those in other coded psychiatric disorders.