Individualized Prediction of Three- and Six-year Outcomes of Psychosis in a Longitudinal Multicenter Study: a machine learning approach


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Schizophrenia and related disorders have heterogeneous outcomes. Individualized prediction of long-term outcomes may be helpful in improving treatment decisions. Utilizing extensive baseline data of 523 patients with a psychotic disorder and variable illness duration, we predicted symptomatic and global outcomes at 3-year and 6-year follow-ups. We classified outcomes as (1) symptomatic: in remission or not in remission, and (2) global outcome, using the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scale, divided into good (GAF ≥ 65) and poor (GAF < 65). Aiming for a robust and interpretable prediction model, we employed a linear support vector machine and recursive feature elimination within a nested cross-validation design to obtain a lean set of predictors. Generalization to out-of-study samples was estimated using leave-one-site-out cross-validation. Prediction accuracies were above chance and ranged from 62.2% to 64.7% (symptomatic outcome), and 63.5–67.6% (global outcome). Leave-one-site-out cross-validation demonstrated the robustness of our models, with a minor drop in predictive accuracies of 2.3% on average. Important predictors included GAF scores, psychotic symptoms, quality of life, antipsychotics use, psychosocial needs, and depressive symptoms. These robust, albeit modestly accurate, long-term prognostic predictions based on lean predictor sets indicate the potential of machine learning models complementing clinical judgment and decision-making. Future model development may benefit from studies scoping patient’s and clinicians' needs in prognostication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Journalnpj Schizophrenia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Schizophrenia
  • Psychotic Disorder
  • Decision-making


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