A descriptive study of first presentation psychosis in old age


  • Anne Hassett

  • University of Melbourne, NWHCN Aged Persons Mental Health Program, Sunshine Campus, 176–190 Furlong Road, St Albans, Victoria 3021, Australia. Email: anne.hassett@nwhcn.org.au

AnneHassett Senior Lecturer in Old Age Psychiatry


Objective: This report describes the characteristics of a sample of elderly subjects presenting with their first episode of psychosis in old age.

Method: Forty-six (38 females and eight males) patients were assessed on a variety of cognitive, psychopathological and personality measures.

Results: Female preponderance, social isolation and early cognitive deficits were findings of this study which have been replicated by other studies of late-onset psychosis. In contrast, hearing loss was not overly represented in this sample. Personality style differed significantly from accepted norms of adult personality traits, with lower scores for dimensional ratings of neuroticism, extraversion and openness to change.

Conclusions: The descriptive findings in this study suggest that psychosocial factors require further investigation in patients presenting with late-onset psychosis. Comparison with younger first-onset psychotic subjects will be the subject of a later report.