Ethnic variations in duration of untreated psychosis: report from the CRIS-FEP study

Sheri Oduola, Tom K. J. Craig, Craig Morgan

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Objectives: There is inconsistent evidence on the influence of ethnicity on duration of untreated psychosis (DUP). We investigated ethnic differences in DUP in a large epidemiological dataset of first episode psychosis patients in an inner city area of south London, UK.

Methods: We analysed data on 558 first episode psychosis patients at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, between 2010 and 2012. We performed multivariable logistic regression to estimate the odds of a short DUP (≤ 6 months) by ethnic group, controlling for confounders.

Results: There was no evidence that ethnicity is associated with duration of untreated psychosis. However, we found evidence that a short DUP was strongly associated with age, living circumstances, and pathways to care variables (involuntary admission, out of office hour contact, accident and emergency referral, criminal justice agency referral and family involvement in help-seeking). Conversely, a long DUP was associated with report of social isolation, living alone, being single and General Practitioner referral.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that indicators of social isolation were associated with long DUP. Our data also show that pathways into care characteristics play significant role in DUP. Thus, the challenge of tackling the issue of timely access to EI under the new Access and Waiting Time standard for psychosis requires a multilevel approach, including joint working with communities, public awareness of psychosis, less restrictive referral pathways and adequate resourcing of early intervention for psychosis services. These will go a long way in addressing patients’ needs rather than be determined by service structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931–941
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number6
Early online date17 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Duration of untreated psychosis
  • Ethnicity
  • Pathways to care
  • Psychosis
  • Social determinants

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