"Everyone Needs a Friend Sometimes" - social predictors of long-term remission in first episode psychosis
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Predictors of long-term symptomatic remission are crucial to the successful tailoring of treatment in first episode psychosis. There is lack of studies distinguishing the predictive effects of different social factors. This prevents a valid evaluating of their independent effects. Objectives: To test specific social baseline predictors of long-term remission. We hypothesized that first, satisfaction with social relations predicts remission; second, that frequency of social interaction predicts remission; and third, that the effect of friend relationship satisfaction and frequency will be greater than that of family relations satisfaction and frequency. Material and Methods: A sample of first episode psychosis (n = 186) completed baseline measures of social functioning, as well as clinical assessments. We compared groups of remitted and non-remitted individuals using generalized estimating equations analyses. Results: Frequency of social interaction with friends was a significant positive predictor of remission over a two-year period. Neither global perceived social satisfaction nor frequency of family interaction showed significant effects. Conclusions: The study findings are of particular clinical importance since frequency of friendship interaction is a possibly malleable factor. Frequency of interaction could be affected through behavioral modification and therapy already from an early stage in the course, and thus increase remission rates.