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An ‘ethnic’ or ‘group’ density effect in psychosis has been observed, whereby the risk of psychosis in minority group individuals is inversely related to neighbourhood-level proportions of others belonging to the same group. However, there is conflicting evidence over whether this effect differs between minority groups and limited investigation into other moderators.
To conduct a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of the group density effect in psychosis and examine moderators.
Four databases were systematically searched. A narrative review was conducted and a three-level meta-analysis was performed. The potential moderating effect of crudely and specifically defined minority groups was assessed. Country, time, area size and whether studies used clinical or non-clinical outcomes were also tested as moderators.
Thirty-two studies were included in the narrative review and ten in the meta-analysis. A 10 percentage-point decrease in own-group density was associated with a 20% increase in psychosis risk (OR = 1.20, 95% CI 1.09−1.32, P < 0.001). This was moderated by crudely defined minority groups (F6,68 = 6.86, P < 0.001), with the strongest associations observed in Black populations, followed by a White Other sample. Greater heterogeneity was observed when specific minority groups were assessed (F25,49 = 7.26, P < 0.001).
This is the first review to provide meta-analytic evidence that the risk of psychosis posed by lower own-group density varies across minority groups, with the strongest associations observed in Black individuals. Heterogeneity in effect sizes may reflect distinctive social experiences of specific minority groups. Potential mechanisms are discussed, along with the implications of findings and suggestions for future research.
There is increasing interest in potential harmful effects of mindfulness-based interventions. In relation to psychosis, inconsistency and shortcomings in how harm is monitored and reported are holding back our understanding. We offer eight recommendations to help build a firmer evidence base on potential harm in mindfulness for psychosis.
This study aimed to review the evidence base regarding cognitive impairment and the development of dementia in patients with very late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis (VLOSLP).
We conducted a systematic literature search of PubMed, PsycINFO and Web of Science according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) guidelines. Two reviewers independently screened records first by title and abstract and then by full text, resolving differences after each stage. Selected studies were assessed for quality using the GRADE system, and data on study design, participants, cognitive ability and rates of developing dementia were extracted and synthesised.
Seventeen publications were identified for review. They were generally poor in quality and heterogenous in design. VLOSLP patients were found to have impaired global cognition compared to non-psychotic controls, but no difference was found between VLOSLP patients and aged early-onset schizophrenia (EOS) patients. No single cognitive domain was consistently affected. Patients with VLOSLP demonstrated significantly higher rates of dementia diagnosis (ranging from 4.4% over 3 years to 44.4% over 15 years) than controls, but no difference was found between VLOSLP patients and aged EOS patients.
VLOSLP may not necessarily predict cognitive decline, but few studies have adequately investigated cohorts on a longitudinal basis. Heterogeneity between and within cohorts and varying selection criteria compromise the clinical generalisability of studies investigating the association between VLOSLP and neurodegenerative disease. Further studies on the clinical presentation, cognitive profile and neuropathology of VLOSLP with comparison to EOS/late-onset schizophrenia (LOS) and neurodegenerative disease are needed to better inform the diagnosis and management of VLOSLP.
Homelessness and mental health problems have been historically associated – but before the 1980s this connection was not generally recognised. For many people with mental health problems, the large hostels for the homeless formed a parallel system of institutionalisation to that of mental hospitals. Unlike mental hospitals, they were generally situated within working-class areas of housing. Attitudes and practices changed significantly between 1960 and 2010. Both homelessness and mental illness became increasingly matters of concern – and the high levels of mental disorder among homeless people were recognised. In 1990, homelessness and mental illness became a political issue because of the increasing numbers of people visibly sleeping out in London. Although it was linked to psychiatric deinstitutionalisation, the evidence suggested that it had more to do with the closures of the large hostels in the 1980s. From the mid-1980s, increased recognition of the problem produced a range of high-quality and effective projects which provided better access to mental health care for homeless people.
Either side of the Second World War, social psychiatry had emerged in the United States, influenced by Adolf Meyer’s work, the ecological wing of the Chicago School of sociology and subsequently the development of the biopsychosocial model by George Engel. The sociological imagination in British social psychiatry was sparse but not always absent. Most of the work in UK is derived from the Institute of Psychiatry in London, augmented by a minority of studies from Scotland and the English provinces. By the turn of this century, the taken-for-granted diagnostic categories used by social psychiatrists were subject to critical questioning. The weak construct validity of schizophrenia was conceded and a broader notion of psychosis as the medical codification of madness (i.e. socially unintelligible conduct) emerged. No discipline has a monopoly of understanding about this topic and so the interdisciplinary potential of social psychiatry, broadly conceived, remains an opportunity for all. However, for its potential to be realised, the principle of interdisciplinarity needs to be fully respected by all.
Many studies report an ethnic density effect whereby psychosis incidence among ethnic minority groups is higher in low co-ethnic density areas. It is unclear whether an equivalent density effect applies with other types of socioeconomic disadvantages.
We followed a population cohort of 2 million native Danes comprising all those born on 1st January 1965, or later, living in Denmark on their 15th birthday. Socioeconomic disadvantage, based on parents' circumstances at age 15 (low income, manual occupation, single parent and unemployed), was measured alongside neighbourhood prevalence of these indices.
Each indicator was associated with a higher incidence of non-affective psychosis which remained the same, or was slightly reduced, if neighbourhood levels of disadvantage were lower. For example, for individuals from a low-income background there was no difference in incidence for those living in areas where a low-income was least common [incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.01; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93–1.10 v. those in the quintile where a low income was most common. Typically, differences associated with area-level disadvantage were the same whether or not cohort members had a disadvantaged background; for instance, for those from a manual occupation background, incidence was lower in the quintile where this was least v. most common (IRR 0.83; 95% CI 0.71–0.97), as it was for those from a non-manual background (IRR 0.77; 95% CI 0.67–0.87).
We found little evidence for group density effects in contrast to previous ethnic density studies. Further research is needed with equivalent investigations in other countries to see if similar patterns are observed.
Childhood trauma increases risk for psychopathology and cognitive impairment. Prior research mainly focused on the hippocampus and amygdala in single diagnostic categories. However, other brain regions may be impacted by trauma as well, and effects may be independent of diagnosis. This cross-sectional study investigated cortical and subcortical gray matter volume in relation to childhood trauma severity.
We included 554 participants: 250 bipolar-I patients, 84 schizophrenia-spectrum patients and 220 healthy individuals without a psychiatric history. Participants filled in the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Anatomical T1 MRI scans were acquired at 3T, regional brain morphology was assessed using Freesurfer.
In the total sample, trauma-related gray matter reductions were found in the frontal lobe (β = −0.049, p = 0.008; q = 0.048), this effect was driven by the right medial orbitofrontal, paracentral, superior frontal regions and the left precentral region. No trauma-related volume reductions were observed in any other (sub)cortical lobes nor the hippocampus or amygdala, trauma-by-group (i.e. both patient groups and healthy subjects) interaction effects were absent. A categorical approach confirmed a pattern of more pronounced frontal gray matter reductions in individuals reporting multiple forms of trauma and across quartiles of cumulative trauma scores. Similar dose−response patterns were revealed within the bipolar and healthy subgroups, but did not reach significance in schizophrenia-spectrum patients.
Findings show that childhood trauma is linked to frontal gray matter reductions, independent of psychiatric morbidity. Our results indicate that childhood trauma importantly contributes to the neurobiological changes commonly observed across psychiatric disorders. Frontal volume alterations may underpin affective and cognitive disturbances observed in trauma-exposed individuals.
Negative beliefs about the self, including low self-compassion, have been identified as a putative causal factor in the occurrence of paranoia. Therefore, improving self-compassion may be one route to reduce paranoia.
To assess the feasibility, acceptability, and potential clinical effects of a brief compassionate imagery intervention for patients with persecutory delusions.
Twelve patients with persecutory delusions received an individual four-session compassionate imagery intervention. Assessments of self-concept and paranoia were completed before treatment, immediately after treatment, and at 1-month follow-up. A qualitative study exploring participants’ experiences of the treatment was also completed.
Twelve out of 14 eligible patients referred to the study agreed to take part. All participants completed all therapy sessions and assessments. Post-treatment, there were improvements in self-compassion (change score –0.64, 95% CI –1.04, –0.24, d = –1.78), negative beliefs about the self (change score 2.42, 95% CI –0.37, 5.20, d = 0.51), and paranoia (change score 10.08, 95% CI 3.47, 16.69, d = 0.61). There were no serious adverse events. Three themes emerged from the qualitative analysis: ‘effortful learning’, ‘seeing change’ and ‘taking it forward’. Participants described a process of active and effortful engagement in therapy which was rewarded with positive changes, including feeling calmer, gaining clarity, and developing acceptance.
This uncontrolled feasibility study indicates that a brief compassionate imagery intervention for patients with persecutory delusions is feasible, acceptable, and may lead to clinical benefits.
Higher incidence of psychotic disorders and underuse of mental health services have been reported among many migrant populations. This study examines the initiation and continuity of antipsychotic treatment among migrants and non-migrants with a non-affective psychosis during a new treatment episode.
This study is based on a nationwide sample of migrants and Finnish-born controls. Participants who were diagnosed with a psychotic disorder in 2011–2014 were identified from the Care Register for Health Care (n = 1693). Information on purchases of antipsychotic drugs in 2011–2015 was collected from the National Prescription Register. The duration of antipsychotic treatment since diagnosis was estimated using the PRE2DUP model. Cox regression analysis was used to study factors that are associated with discontinuing the use of medication.
There were fewer initiators of antipsychotic treatment after being diagnosed with psychosis among migrants (68.1%) than among Finnish-born patients (73.6%). After controlling for sociodemographic background and factors related to the type of disorder and treatment, migrants were more likely to discontinue medication (adjusted hazard ratio 1.28, 95% confidence interval 1.08–1.52). The risk of discontinuation was highest among migrants from North Africa and the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa and among recent migrants. Non-use of antipsychotic treatment before being diagnosed with psychosis, involuntary hospitalization and diagnosis other than schizophrenia were associated with earlier discontinuation both among migrants and non-migrants.
Migrants with a psychotic disorder are less likely to continue antipsychotic treatment than non-migrants. The needs of migrant patients have to be addressed to improve adherence.
There is a paucity of literature on the relationship between pre-existing mental health conditions and coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outcomes. The aim was to examine the association between pre-existing mental health diagnosis and COVID-19 outcomes (positive screen, hospitalization, mortality).
Electronic medical record data for 30 976 adults tested for COVID-19 between March 2020 and 10th July 2020 was analyzed. COVID-19 outcomes included positive screen, hospitalization among screened positive, and mortality among screened positive and hospitalized. Primary independent variable, mental health disorders, was based on ICD-10 codes categorized as bipolar, internalizing, externalizing, and psychoses. Descriptive statistics were calculated, unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models were used to investigate the relationship between each mental health disorder and COVID-19 outcomes.
Adults with externalizing (odds ratio (OR) 0.67, 95%CI 0.57–0.79) and internalizing disorders (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.70–0.88) had lower odds of having a positive COVID-19 test in fully adjusted models. Adults with bipolar disorder had significantly higher odds of hospitalization in fully adjusted models (OR 4.27, 95% CI 2.06–8.86), and odds of hospitalization were significantly higher among those with externalizing disorders after adjusting for demographics (OR 1.71, 95% CI 1.23–2.38). Mortality was significantly higher in the fully adjusted model for patients with bipolar disorder (hazard ratio 2.67, 95% CI 1.07–6.67).
Adults with mental health disorders, while less likely to test positive for COVID-19, were more likely to be hospitalized and to die in the hospital. Study results suggest the importance of developing interventions that incorporate elements designed to address smoking cessation, nutrition and physical activity counseling and other needs specific to this population to improve COVID-19 outcomes.
Migration is an established risk factor for developing a psychotic disorder in countries with a long history of migration. Less is known for countries with only a recent history of migration. This study aimed to determine the risk for developing a psychotic disorder in migrants to the Republic of Ireland.
We included all presentations of first-episode psychosis over 8.5 years to the DETECT Early Intervention for psychosis service in the Republic of Ireland (573 individuals aged 18–65, of whom 22% were first-generation migrants). Psychotic disorder diagnosis relied on SCID. The at-risk population was calculated using census data, and negative binomial regression was used to estimate incidence rate ratios.
The annual crude incidence rate for a first-episode psychotic disorder in the total cohort was 25.62 per 100000 population at risk. Migrants from Africa had a nearly twofold increased risk for developing a psychotic disorder compared to those born in the Republic of Ireland (IRR = 1.83, 95% CI 1.11–3.02, p = 0.02). In contrast, migrants from certain Asian countries had a reduced risk, specifically those from China, India, Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Hong Kong (aIRR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.16–0.81, p = 0.01).
Further research into the reasons for this inflated risk in specific migrant groups could produce insights into the aetiology of psychotic disorders. This information should also be used, alongside other data on environmental risk factors that can be determined from census data, to predict the incidence of psychotic disorders and thereby resource services appropriately.
Although the incidence of psychotic disorders among older people is substantial, little is known about the association with subsequent dementia. We aimed to examine the rate of dementia diagnosis in individuals with very late-onset schizophrenia-like psychosis (VLOSLP) compared to those without VLOSLP.
Using Swedish population register data, we established a cohort of 15 409 participants with VLOSLP matched by age and calendar period to 154 090 individuals without VLOSLP. Participants were born between 1920 and 1949 and followed from their date of first International Classification of Diseases [ICD], Revisions 8–10 (ICD-8/9/10) non-affective psychotic disorder diagnosis after age 60 years old (or the same date for matched participants) until the end of follow-up (30th December 2011), emigration, death, or first recorded ICD-8/9/10 dementia diagnosis.
We found a substantially higher rate of dementia in individuals with VLOSLP [hazard ratio (HR): 4.22, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 4.05–4.41]. Median time-to-dementia-diagnosis was 75% shorter in those with VLOSLP (time ratio: 0.25, 95% CI 0.24–0.26). This association was strongest in the first year following VLOSLP diagnosis, and attenuated over time, although dementia rates remained higher in participants with VLOSLP for up to 20 years of follow-up. This association remained after accounting for potential misdiagnosis (2-year washout HR: 2.22, 95% CI 2.10–2.36), ascertainment bias (HR: 2.89, 95% CI 2.75–3.04), and differing mortality patterns between groups (subdistribution HR: 2.89, 95% CI 2.77–3.03).
Our findings demonstrate that individuals with VLOSLP represent a high-risk group for subsequent dementia. This may be due to early prodromal changes for some individuals, highlighting the importance of ongoing symptom monitoring in people with VLOSLP.
Our goal was to identify the demographic profile of the people living homeless with mental illness in Lisboa, Portugal, and their relationship with the national healthcare system. We also tried to understand which factors contribute to the number and duration of psychiatric admissions among these homeless people.
We used a cross-sectional design, collecting data for 4 years among homeless people, in Lisboa, Portugal, that were referred as possible psychiatric patients to Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa (CHPL). In total, we collected data from 500 homeless people, then crosschecked these people in our CHPL hospital electronic database and obtained 467 patient matches.
The most common psychiatric diagnosis in our sample was drug abuse (34%), followed by alcohol abuse (33%), personality disorder (24%), and acute stress reaction (23%). Sixty-two percent of our patients had multiple diagnoses, a subgroup with longer follow-ups, more psychiatric hospitalizations, and longer psychiatric hospitalizations. The prevalence of psychotic disorders was high: organic psychosis (17%), schizophrenia (15%), psychosis not otherwise specified (14%), and schizoaffective disorder (11%), that combined altogether were present in more than half (57%) of our homeless patients.
The people living homeless with multiple diagnoses have higher mental health needs and worse determinants of general health. An ongoing effort is needed to identify and address this subgroup of homeless people with mental illness to improve their treatment and outcomes.
Violence perpetrated by psychiatric inpatients is associated with modifiable factors. Current structured approaches to assess inpatient violence risk lack predictive validity and linkage to interventions.
Adult psychiatric inpatients on forensic and general wards in three psychiatric hospitals were recruited and followed up prospectively for 6 months. Information on modifiable (dynamic) risk factors were collected every 1–4 weeks, and baseline background factors. Data were transferred to a web-based monitoring system (FOxWeb) to calculate a total dynamic risk score. Outcomes were extracted from an incident-reporting system recording aggression and interpersonal violence. The association between total dynamic score and violent incidents was assessed by multilevel logistic regression and compared with dynamic score excluded.
We recruited 89 patients and conducted 624 separate assessments (median 5/patient). Mean age was 39 (s.d. 12.5) years with 20% (n = 18) female. Common diagnoses were schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (70%, n = 62) and personality disorders (20%, n = 18). There were 93 violent incidents. Factors contributing to violence risk were a total dynamic score of ⩾1 (OR 3.39, 95% CI 1.25–9.20), 10-year increase in age (OR 0.67, 0.47–0.96), and female sex (OR 2.78, 1.04–7.40). Non-significant associations with schizophrenia-spectrum disorder were found (OR 0.50, 0.20–1.21). In a fixed-effect model using all covariates, AUC was 0.77 (0.72–0.82) and 0.75 (0.70–0.80) when the dynamic score was excluded.
In predicting violence risk in individuals with psychiatric disorders, modifiable factors added little incremental value beyond static ones in a psychiatric inpatient setting. Future work should make a clear distinction between risk factors that assist in prediction and those linked to needs.
To examine whether national initiatives have led to improvements in the physical health of people with psychosis. Secondary analysis of a national audit of services for people with psychosis. Proportions of patients in ‘good health’ according to seven measures, and one composite measure derived from national standards, were compared between multiple rounds of data collection.
The proportion of patients in overall ‘good health’ under the care of ‘Early Intervention in Psychosis’ teams increased from 2014–2019, particularly for measures of smoking, alcohol and substance use. There was no overall change in the proportion of patients in overall ‘good health’ under the care of ‘Community Mental Health Teams’ from 2011–2017. However, there were improvements in alcohol use, blood glucose and lipid levels.
There have been modest improvements in the health of people with psychosis over the last nine years. Continuing efforts are required to translate these improvements into reductions in premature mortality.
Evidence supports the use of group therapy for symptom reduction and improving functioning in people with psychosis. However, research guidelines highlight the importance of establishing the feasibility of interventions. Adherence is an important indicator of feasibility and an essential step in supporting the development of the evidence base for group interventions. This review aims to estimate adherence, and possible barriers and facilitators, to psychotherapeutic groups in people with psychosis.
Embase, Ovid MEDLINE and PsycINFO databases were searched for cross-referencing terms related to group therapy and psychosis. Studies were assessed against inclusion criteria and methodological quality was evaluated. Data wasextracted from each paper including the average session attendance, demographic, clinical, study and therapy-related characteristics and the impact of these on adherence levels evaluated.
Fifty-nine original research papers were included, reporting on 52 independent studies which consisted of 66 therapy groups comprised of 2109 participants. Average adherence was 76.4% (s.d. = 17.4). Adherence was improved by receiving incentives and was higher in participants of older age. Study sample size was inversely associated with adherence levels. Study quality was variable with approximately 61.5% found to be at risk of bias. The results support the feasibility of group therapy and suggest that adherence in people with psychosis is not dissimilar to those for people experiencing common mental health difficulties. These findings, alongside efficacy evidence, support the use of group interventions in people with psychosis but also highlight the need for further high-quality research on the efficacy for these approaches.
A cumulative environmental exposure score for schizophrenia (exposome score for schizophrenia [ES-SCZ]) may provide potential utility for risk stratification and outcome prediction. Here, we investigated whether ES-SCZ was associated with functioning in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, unaffected siblings, and healthy controls.
This cross-sectional sample consisted of 1,261 patients, 1,282 unaffected siblings, and 1,525 healthy controls. The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale was used to assess functioning. ES-SCZ was calculated based on our previously validated method. The association between ES-SCZ and the GAF dimensions (symptom and disability) was analyzed by applying regression models in each group (patients, siblings, and controls). Additional models included polygenic risk score for schizophrenia (PRS-SCZ) as a covariate.
ES-SCZ was associated with the GAF dimensions in patients (symptom: B = −1.53, p-value = 0.001; disability: B = −1.44, p-value = 0.001), siblings (symptom: B = −3.07, p-value < 0.001; disability: B = −2.52, p-value < 0.001), and healthy controls (symptom: B = −1.50, p-value < 0.001; disability: B = −1.31, p-value < 0.001). The results remained the same after adjusting for PRS-SCZ. The degree of associations of ES-SCZ with both symptom and disability dimensions were higher in unaffected siblings than in patients and controls. By analyzing an independent dataset (the Genetic Risk and Outcome of Psychosis study), we replicated the results observed in the patient group.
Our findings suggest that ES-SCZ shows promise for enhancing risk prediction and stratification in research practice. From a clinical perspective, ES-SCZ may aid in efforts of clinical characterization, operationalizing transdiagnostic clinical staging models, and personalizing clinical management.
One putative psychological mechanism through which momentary stress impacts on psychosis in individuals with increased liability to the disorder is via affective disturbance. However, to date, this has not been systematically tested. We aimed to investigate whether (i) cross-sectional and temporal effects of momentary stress on psychotic experiences via affective disturbance, and (ii) the reverse pathway of psychotic experiences on stress via affective disturbance were modified by familial liability to psychosis.
The Experience Sampling Method was used in a pooled data set of six studies with three groups of 245 individuals with psychotic disorder, 165 unaffected first-degree relatives, and 244 healthy control individuals to index familial liability. Multilevel moderated mediation models were fitted to investigate indirect effects across groups cross-sectionally and multilevel cross-lagged panel models to investigate temporal effects in the proposed pathways across two measurement occasions.
Evidence on indirect effects from cross-sectional models indicated that, in all three groups, effects of stress on psychotic experiences were mediated by negative affect and, vice versa, effects of psychotic experiences on stress were mediated by negative affect, with all indirect effects being weakest in relatives. Longitudinal modelling of data provided no evidence of temporal priority of stress in exerting its indirect effects on psychotic experiences via affective disturbance or, vice versa.
Our findings tentatively suggest a rapid vicious cycle of stress impacting psychotic experiences via affective disturbances, which does, however, not seem to be consistently modified by familial liability to psychosis.