BACKGROUND: Considering that depressive and anxiety symptoms are common in schizophrenia, this study investigated
whether the severity of a psychotic episode in an acute phase schizophrenia cohort is predictive of concurrent
depressive and anxiety features.
METHOD: Fifty one recently hospitalised patients suffering from acute phase schizophrenia participated prospectively in a
cross-sectional study. The severity of the psychotic episode, the depressive features and the anxiety features were
measured by the Structured Clinical Interview for Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (SCI-PANSS), the Calgary
Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS), the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) and the Staden Schizophrenia
Anxiety Rating Scale (S-SARS). The total SCI-PANSS-scores were adjusted to exclude appropriately the depression or
anxiety items contained therein. To examine akathisia as potential confounder, the Barnes Akathisia Scale was also
applied. The relationships were examined using linear regressions and paired t-tests were performed between
lower and higher scores on the SCI-PANSS.
RESULTS: A higher adjusted total SCI-PANSS-score predicted statistically significantly higher scores for depressive
features on the CDSS (p < 0.0001) and for anxiety features on the HAM-A (p = 0.05) and the S-SARS (p < 0.0001).
The group that scored more or equal to the median (=99) of the adjusted total SCI-PANSS, scored significantly
higher (p < 0.0001) on the CDSS, the HAM-A and the S-SARS than the group scoring below it. Akathisia measured
distinctly different (p < 0.0001) from both the anxiety measures.
CONCLUSION: The study suggests that the severity of a psychotic episode in acute phase schizophrenia predicts
the severity of concurrent depressive and anxiety features respectively.