First-episode psychosis in the military: A comparative study of prodromal symptoms

H. Y. Tan, Y. G. Ang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The objective of this study is to provide a retrospective description of prodromal symptoms of young military servicemen with first-episode psychosis, and a comparison with first-episode non-psychotic disorders. Method: Thirty consecutive servicemen presenting with first-episode psychosis were studied. Thirty-four randomly selected servicemen from 123 with non-psychotic disorders served as comparison. A combination of unstructured and semistructured interviews with the patient and other informants was used to describe the prodromal symptoms. Results: The most common prodromal psychotic symptoms were social withdrawal (83%); anxiety (77%); sleep disturbance (77%); disturbance in attention, concentration or memory (73%); deterioration in studies in school (70%); depressed mood (63%); odd behaviour (53%); and anger or irritability (53%). Common symptoms found in first-episode psychosis and non-psychotic patients included sleep disturbance, anxiety, depressed mood and anger or irritability. Common symptoms that were associated with the psychotic prodrome were social withdrawal (p < 0.001), deterioration in school results (p < 0.001) and disturbance in attention, concentration or memory (p < 0.001). The psychotic prodrome was also associated with apathy (p < 0.001), odd behaviour (p < 0.001), doing nothing (p = 0.004) and thought blocking (p = 0.04). Conclusion: Cognitive disturbances and attenuated negative symptoms appear to be more specific to the psychotic prodrome in young patients with first-episode psychosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-519
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescence
  • Cognition
  • First-episode psychosis
  • Military servicemen
  • Prodrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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