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This paper aims at providing an overview of the background, design and initial findings of Psychosis Incident Cohort Outcome Study (PICOS).
PICOS is a large multi-site population-based study on first-episode psychosis (FEP) patients attending public mental health services in the Veneto region (Italy) over a 3-year period. PICOS has a naturalistic longitudinal design and it includes three different modules addressing, respectively, clinical and social variables, genetics and brain imaging. Its primary aims are to characterize FEP patients in terms of clinical, psychological and social presentation, and to investigate the relative weight of clinical, environmental and biological factors (i.e. genetics and brain structure/functioning) in predicting the outcome of FEP.
An in-depth description of the research methodology is given first. Details on recruitment phase and baseline and follow-up evaluations are then provided. Initial findings relating to patients' baseline assessments are also presented. Future planned analyses are outlined.
Both strengths and limitations of PICOS are discussed in the light of issues not addressed in the current literature on FEP. This study aims at making a substantial contribution to research on FEP patients. It is hoped that the research strategies adopted in PICOS will enhance the convergence of methodologies in ongoing and future studies on FEP.
A six-point predictive scale for parasuicide repetition developed by Buglass and Horton (1974a) was tested on a group of patients admitted for parasuicide to a psychiatric ward of one of the city hospitals of Verona. The scale gave a range of probability of repetition within 12 months of 15 per cent at a score of 0 up to 45.5 per cent at the scores 3, 4, 5 and 6. Moreover the scale discriminated significantly between repeaters and non-repeaters. Items significantly associated with repetition in the Italian sample, which are not represented by the six-point scale were: previous parasuicide not admitted to hospital, violence received, alcohol taken at time of act, less than one year at the present address.
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