Early interventions to prevent psychosis: Systematic review and meta-analysis

Megan R. Stafford, Hannah Jackson, Evan Mayo-Wilson, Anthony P. Morrison, Tim Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

307 Scopus citations


Objective To determine whether any psychological, pharmacological, or nutritional interventions can prevent or delay transition to psychotic disorders for people at high risk. Design Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources Embase, Medline, PreMedline, PsycINFO, and CENTRAL were searched to November 2011 without restriction to publication status. Review methods Randomised trials comparing any psychological, pharmacological, nutritional, or combined intervention with usual services or another treatment. Studies of participants with a formal diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were excluded. Studies were assessed for bias, and relevant limitations were considered in summarising the results. Results 11 trials including 1246 participants and eight comparisons were included. Median sample size of included trials was 81 (range 51-288). Meta-analyses were performed for transition to psychosis, symptoms of psychosis, depression, and mania; quality of life; weight; and discontinuation of treatment. Evidence of moderate quality showed an effect for cognitive behavioural therapy on reducing transition to psychosis at 12 months (risk ratio 0.54 (95% confidence interval 0.34 to 0.86); risk difference -0.07 (-0.14 to -0.01). Very low quality evidence for omega-3 fatty acids and low to very low quality evidence for integrated psychotherapy also indicated that these interventions were associated with reductions in transition to psychosis at 12 months. Conclusions Although evidence of benefits for any specific intervention is not conclusive, these findings suggest that it might be possible to delay or prevent transition to psychosis. Further research should be undertaken to establish conclusively the potential for benefit of psychological interventions in the treatment of people at high risk of psychosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberf185
JournalBMJ (Online)
Issue number7892
StatePublished - Jan 26 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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