Association between symptom dimensions and categorical diagnoses of psychosis: A cross-sectional and longitudinal investigation

Manuela Russo, Stephen Z. Levine, Arsime Demjaha, Marta Di Forti, Stefania Bonaccorso, Paul Fearon, Paola Dazzan, Carmine M. Pariante, Anthony S. David, Craig Morgan, Robin M. Murray, Abraham Reichenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Cross-sectional studies of the signs and symptoms of psychosis yield dimensional phenotypes. However, the validity and clinical utility of such dimensions remain debated. This study investigated the structure of psychotic symptomatology, the stability of the structure over time, and the concordance between symptom dimensions and categorical diagnoses.Methods: Sample consisted of 500 first-episode psychotic patients. A cross-sectional study (N = 500) investigated the organizational structure of symptom dimensions at the onset of psychosis and its concordance with categorical diagnoses; next, a nested longitudinal study (N = 100) examined the stability of the symptom dimensions structure after 5-10 years of follow-up.Results: Factor analyses identified 6 first-order factors (mania, negative, disorganization, depression, hallucinations, and delusions) and 2 high-order factors (affective and nonaffective psychoses). Cumulative variance accounted for by the first and high-order factors was 63%: 31% by the first-order factors and 32% by the high-order factors. The factorial structure of psychotic symptoms during first episode remained stable after 5-10 years of follow-up. The overall concordance between 4 categorical diagnostic groups (schizophrenia, mania with psychosis, psychotic depression and schizoaffective disorder) and dimensional symptom ranged from 62.2% to 73.1% (when the schizoaffective group was excluded).Conclusions: Symptoms of psychosis assume a multidimensional hierarchical structure. This hierarchical model was stable over time and showed good concordance with categorical diagnoses. The combined use of dimensional and categorical approach to psychotic disorders would be of clinical and research utility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • DSM-5
  • diagnostic classification
  • longitudinal study
  • psychosis
  • symptom dimensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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