Disorganization in first episode schizophrenia: Treatment response and psychopathological findings from the 2-year follow-up of the “Parma Early Psychosis” program

Lorenzo Pelizza, Emanuela Leuci, Davide Maestri, Emanuela Quattrone, Silvia Azzali, Giuseppina Paulillo, Pietro Pellegrini, Andrea Raballo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Disorganization is a core dimension of schizophrenia, yet it is relatively under-investigated compared to positive and negative ones, especially at the illness onset. Indeed, most of the empirical studies investigating the disorganized domain included patients with prolonged schizophrenia. Therefore, the aims of this research were (1) to monitor the longitudinal stability of disorganized symptoms in young patients with First Episode Schizophrenia (FES) along a 2-year follow-up period, and (2) to examine any significant association of disorganization with functioning, psychopathology and the specific treatment components of an “Early Intervention in Psychosis” (EIP) program across the 2 years of follow-up. Methods: At baseline, 159 FES individuals (aged 12–35 years) completed the Positive And Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF). Spearman's correlation coefficients and multiple linear regression analysis were carried out. Results: During the follow-up period, disorganization had relevant enduring positive associations with PANSS negative symptoms, lack of judgment/insight and positive symptoms representing delusional thought contents, as well as significant enduring negative correlation with GAF scores. Along the 2 years of follow-up, FES patients also showed a relevant improvement in disorganization symptoms. This reduction was specifically associated with the number of individual psychotherapy sessions provided during the first year of treatment. Conclusion: Disorganization is a prominent clinical feature in FES at the recruitment in specialized EIP services, but its temporal trajectory reveals a decrease over time, together with the delivery of specific, patient-tailored EIP interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Disorganization
  • Early schizophrenia
  • First episode schizophrenia
  • Follow-up
  • Psychopathology
  • Treatment response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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