Open Access Open Badges Research article

Depressive symptoms in first episode psychosis: a one-year follow-up study

Nasrettin Sönmez12*, Kristin Lie Romm1, Ole A Andreasssen2, Ingrid Melle2 and Jan Ivar Røssberg12

Author Affiliations

1 Oslo University Hospital, (TIPS Sor Ost) Centre of Competence for Early Intervention in Psychosis, Fridtjof Nansens vei 12, Oslo, 0369, Norway

2 KG Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Division of Mental Health and Addiction and Oslo University Hospital, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Pb 85, Oslo, 0319, Norway

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BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:106  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-106

Published: 5 April 2013



Depressive symptoms are common in patients with first episode psychosis (FEP) and have serious consequences for them. The main aims of this study were to examine the course of depression in FEP patients and explore whether any patient characteristics at baseline predicts depressive symptoms after one year.


A total of 198 FEP patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders were assessed for depressive symptoms with Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS) at baseline and 127 were followed for one year. A CDSS score [greater than or equal to] 6 was used as a cut-off score for depression.


Approximately 50% of the patients were depressed (CDSS[greater than or equal to]6) at baseline. At follow-up approximately 35% had depression. The course of depressive symptoms varied, 26% was depressed at both baseline and follow-up, 9% became depressed during the follow-up, 22% remitted from depression during the 12 months and 43% was neither depressed at baseline nor at follow-up. Poor childhood social functioning, long duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) and depressive symptoms at baseline predicted depression at 12 months follow-up.


Depressive symptoms are frequent in the first year after onset of psychosis. Patients with poor social functioning in childhood, long DUP and depressive symptoms at baseline are more prone to have depressive symptoms after one year. These patients should be identified and proper treatment provided.