Psychiatry Res 2014 Dec 1;220(3):1077-83. Epub 2014 Aug 1.
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, 401 Parnassus Avenue, Box PAR-0984, San Francisco, CA 94143, United States. Electronic address:
Symptom assessment in early psychosis research typically relies on scales validated in chronic schizophrenia samples. Our goal was to inform investigators who are selecting symptom scales for early psychosis research. We described measure characteristics, baseline scores, and scale inter-relationships in clinical-high-risk (CHR) and recent-onset psychotic disorder (RO) samples using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms, and Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms; for the CHR group only, we included the Scale of Prodromal Symptoms. For investigators selecting symptom measures in intervention or longitudinal studies, we also examined the relationship of symptom scales with psychosocial functioning. In both samples, symptom subscales in the same domain, across measures, were moderately to highly intercorrelated. Within all measures, positive symptoms were not correlated with negative symptoms, but disorganized symptoms overlapped with both positive and negative symptoms. Functioning was significantly related to negative and disorganized, but not positive, symptoms in both samples on most measures. Findings suggest strong overlap in symptom severity ratings among the most common scales. In recent-onset samples, each has strengths and weaknesses. In CHR samples, they appear to add little information above and beyond the SOPS.