Symptom assessment in early psychosis: The use of well-established rating scales in clinical high-risk and recent-onset populations

Daniel Fulford, Rahel Pearson, Barbara K. Stuart, Melissa Fisher, Daniel H. Mathalon, Sophia Vinogradov, Rachel L. Loewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1077-1083
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 30 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


  • Assessment
  • BPRS
  • Early psychosis
  • SOPS
  • Symptoms


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