This review aims to identify factors that may prolong or reduce the duration of untreated psychosis for people with psychosis in low- and middle-income countries.
Electronic searches of six databases were conducted, to find studies from low- and middle-income countries on people with psychotic disorders provided they statistically measured an association between factors that may prolong or reduce the duration of untreated psychosis. Studies were critically appraised and a narrative synthesis exploring differences between and within studies is presented. A socio-ecological model is used to convey the main findings.
Thirty studies of 16 473 participants in total were included in this review. Taken together participants were 51.5% male and 48.5% female. Various factors potentially associated with longer duration of untreated psychosis for people with psychosis in low- and middle-income countries were found. Examples of these factors are an insidious mode of onset, greater family stigma and low social class. Other factors, such as marital status, educational level, diagnostic type, predominant symptoms and employment status, yielded inconsistent results.
The methodological quality of the included studies limits the conclusions of this review. The results indicate an urgent need for further high-quality research in these countries. The socio-ecological model is a helpful framework for clinicians, scholars, and decision-makers to conceptualize factors that may affect the duration of untreated psychosis, highlight gaps in the literature as well as reflect on potential prevention strategies that may ultimately support early intervention services for people with psychosis in developing countries.