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Several indicators of heightened vulnerability to psychosis and relevant stressors have been identified. However, it has rarely been studied prospectively to what extent these vulnerability factors are in fact more frequently present in individuals with an at-risk mental state for psychosis. Moreover, it remains unknown whether any of these contribute to the prediction of psychosis onset in at-risk mental state individuals.
There were 28 healthy controls, 86 first-episode psychosis patients and 127 at-risk mental state individuals recruited within the Basel “Früherkennung von Psychosen” project. Relative frequencies of selected vulnerability factors for psychosis were compared between healthy controls, psychosis patients, those at-risk mental state individuals with subsequent psychosis onset (n = 31) and those without subsequent psychosis onset (n = 55). Survival analyses were applied to determine associations between time to transition to psychosis and vulnerability factors in all 127 at-risk mental state individuals.
The vulnerability factors/indicators such as “difficulties during school education or vocational training”, “difficulties during employment”, “being single”, “difficulties with intimate relationships” and “being burdened with specific stressful situations” were more commonly found in the at-risk mental state and first-episode psychosis group than in healthy controls.
At-risk mental state and first-episode psychosis individuals more frequently present with vulnerability factors. Individual vulnerability factors appear, however, not to be predictive for an onset of psychosis.