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Remission and recovery from first-episode psychosis in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of long-term outcome studies

  • John Lally (a1), Olesya Ajnakina (a2), Brendon Stubbs (a3), Michael Cullinane (a4), Kieran C. Murphy (a5), Fiona Gaughran (a6) and Robin M. Murray (a7)...

Remission and recovery rates for people with first-episode psychosis (FEP) remain uncertain.


To assess pooled prevalence rates of remission and recovery in FEP and to investigate potential moderators.


We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess pooled prevalence rates of remission and recovery in FEP in longitudinal studies with more than 1 year of follow-up data, and conducted meta-regression analyses to investigate potential moderators.


Seventy-nine studies were included representing 19072 patients with FEP. The pooled rate of remission among 12301 individuals with FEP was 58% (60 studies, mean follow-up 5.5 years). Higher remission rates were moderated by studies from more recent years. The pooled prevalence of recovery among 9642 individuals with FEP was 38% (35 studies, mean follow-up 7.2 years). Recovery rates were higher in North America than in other regions.


Remission and recovery rates in FEP may be more favourable than previously thought. We observed stability of recovery rates after the first 2 years, suggesting that a progressive deteriorating course of illness is not typical. Although remission rates have improved over time recovery rates have not, raising questions about the effectiveness of services in achieving improved recovery.

Corresponding author
Dr John Lally, PO Box 63, Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. Email:
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Joint first authors.

See editorial, pp. 331–333, this issue.

Declaration of interest


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Remission and recovery from first-episode psychosis in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of long-term outcome studies

  • John Lally (a1), Olesya Ajnakina (a2), Brendon Stubbs (a3), Michael Cullinane (a4), Kieran C. Murphy (a5), Fiona Gaughran (a6) and Robin M. Murray (a7)...
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