Background: To investigate through a two-stage clinic-based screening, the frequency and clinical features of risk for psychosis syndromes in a Chinese help-seeking sample. Method: 2101 consecutive new patients ages 15-45 were recruited at their first visit to the Shanghai Mental Health Center (SMHC) and screened with the Prodromal Questionnaire-Brief version (PQ-B) and questions about genetic risk. The Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes (SIPS) was administered to a sub-sample to estimate rates of psychosis and clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis syndromes. Results: The frequency estimate of CHR syndromes in the total sample was 4.2%. Among 89 CHR patients, more than two-thirds met the criteria for Attenuated Positive Symptom Syndrome (APSS); and nearly a quarter met the criteria for Genetic Risk and Deterioration Syndrome (GRDS). The frequency of CHR syndromes peaked between the ages of 16 and 21. years old and declined with subsequent age. The mean total and distress scores on the PQ-B in subjects with APSS and psychosis were significantly higher than in individuals with GDRS and patients without psychosis or CHR. High frequencies and strong correlations were found among some positive and non-specific symptoms in SIPS interviews. Among the 53 CHR participants who were followed-up for two years, 14 (26.4%) converted to psychosis. Of the non-converters, 53.8% were diagnosed with Axis I disorders. Conclusions: This two stage screening method can enhance detection of Chinese CHR patients in clinical settings. The validity of the procedures for detecting CHR is supported by rates of transition to psychosis and of non-converter Axis I disorders that are comparable to those reported in meta-analyses. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
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