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Five-year outcome of first-episode psychosis before and after the implementation of a modified assertive community treatment programme

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Assertive community treatment programmes are increasingly common worldwide but without much knowledge of their long-term effect. We investigated whether the implementation of such a programme would improve symptomatic and functional outcome 5 years later.


Naturalistic cohort study between 1995 and 2000 of all first-episode psychosis patients (n = 144) in Uppsala County, Sweden. We compared a 3-year period before (non-mACT) and after the introduction of a modified assertive community treatment (mACT) programme in 1998. Five-year outcome was assessed for symptoms and functioning and the two co-primary outcome measures were positive and negative symptoms. Regression models were adjusted for a propensity score based on multiple baseline variables and use of antipsychotics at 5-year follow-up.


Contrary to our hypothesis, patients in the mACT group, compared to those in the non-mACT group, had a borderline significant increased risk of having a poor 5-year outcome regarding positive psychotic symptoms [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 3.21, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.97–10.63]. There was no difference at the 5-year follow-up between the mACT and non-mACT group regarding negative symptoms (adjusted OR 1.65, 95% CI 0.48–5.66), or any of the secondary outcome measures: global assessment of functioning, hazardous alcohol use, use of illicit drugs, working or being in education, independent living, subjective satisfaction with life or suicide. Results were similar in subgroup analyses.


The implementation of a modified assertive community treatment was not followed by subsequent improvements of 5-year outcome on a group level for patients with first-episode psychosis.

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We thank the patients and the clinical teams for all their help. The study was supported by unrestricted grants from the Söderström–Königska Foundation and the Swedish Psychiatry Foundation.

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Correspondence to Robert Bodén.

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This report is written according to the STROBE guidelines.

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Bodén, R., Sundström, J., Lindström, E. et al. Five-year outcome of first-episode psychosis before and after the implementation of a modified assertive community treatment programme. Soc Psychiat Epidemiol 45, 665–674 (2010).

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