Erik Simonsen

University of Copenhagen, København, Capital Region, Denmark

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Publications (69)248.6 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A substantial proportion of patients suffering from schizophrenia-spectrum disorders (SSDs) exhibit a general intellectual impairment at illness onset, but the subsequent intellectual course remains unclear. Relationships between accumulated time in psychosis and long-term intellectual functioning are largely uninvestigated, but may identify subgroups with different intellectual trajectories. Eighty-nine first-episode psychosis patients were investigated on IQ at baseline and at 10-years follow-up. Total time in psychosis was defined as two separate variables; Duration of psychosis before start of treatment (i.e. duration of untreated psychosis: DUP), and duration of psychosis after start of treatment (DAT). The sample was divided in three equal groups based on DUP and DAT, respectively. To investigate if diagnosis could separate IQ-trajectories beyond that of psychotic duration, two diagnostic categories were defined: core versus non-core SSDs. No significant change in IQ was found for the total sample. Intellectual course was not related to DUP or stringency of diagnostic category. However, a subgroup with long DAT demonstrated a significant intellectual decline, mainly associated with a weaker performance on test of immediate verbal recall/working memory (WAIS-R Digit Span). This indicates a relationship between accumulated duration of psychosis and long-term intellectual course, irrespective of diagnostic category, in a significant subgroup of patients. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Psychiatry Research 12/2014; · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (ISSPD) celebrated its 25th anniversary in September 2013 in Copenhagen and commemorated the First International Congress at the same site. The overall theme of the congress was "Bridging Personality and Psychopathology: The Person Behind the Illness." More than 400 abstracts were submitted, and the program included 8 keynote presentations, 18 invited symposia, a debate on current controversial issues in the classification of personality disorders (Fossati, Tyrer, Livesley, and Krueger), an ISSPD award lecture (Silk), a jubilee lecture (Simonsen), a young researchers' symposium (Hopwood, Sharp, and Kaess), and special lectures on the Danish philosopher Soeren Kierkegaard and the poet Hans Christian Andersen. In this article we will survey the presentations and highlight the important issues in order to underline the current trends in research and clinical interests in personality disorders. The keynote video presentations, invited symposia, and slide presentations are freely available at
    Journal of Personality Disorders 10/2014; 28(5):629-636. · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare the benefits and harms of third-wave cognitive therapy versus mentalisation-based therapy in a small sample of depressed participants.
    BMJ Open 08/2014; 4:1-12. · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Caregivers of persons with first-episode psychosis (FEP) often report high levels of distress. Preventing long-term or chronic distress within the whole family is an important focus of early intervention for psychosis. However, a more comprehensive understanding of the psychological factors involved is needed.
    Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 07/2014; · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study examined if any patient characteristics at baseline predicted depressive symptoms at 10 years and whether patients prone to depressive symptoms in the first year of treatment had a different prognosis in the following years.
    Early Intervention in Psychiatry 06/2014; · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In first-episode psychosis, the family is considered an important part in the recovery process. This is often accompanied by significant distress, which is acknowledged in numerous studies. However, little is known about the psychological factors involved.
    Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 06/2014; · 1.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: First episode psychosis (FEP) patients have an increased risk for violence and criminal activity prior to initial treatment. However, little is known about the prevalence of criminality and acts of violence many years after implementation of treatment for a first episode psychosis.
    Schizophrenia Research 05/2014; · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To investigate the effects of social-skills training and a parental training program on children with ADHD as measured by the children's attachment competences. Method: The SOSTRA trial is a randomized, parallel-group, outcome-assessor-blinded, superiority trial evaluating 8 weeks social-skills training and parental training plus standard treatment versus standard treatment alone for 8- to 12-year old children with ADHD. Results: There were no significant differences in attachment competences at 6 months between the experimental (n = 25) and the control (n = 22) groups (odds ratio = 1.06, 95% confidence interval = [0.31, 3.58], p = .91). In total, 17 children (36%) changed their entry status, 1 (2%) from secure to insecure attachment, while 16 (34%) changed from insecure to secure attachment. Conclusion: The experimental treatment does not seem to affect attachment competences compared with standard treatment alone. Children in the SOSTRA trial improved their attachment competences significantly at 6-month follow-up. (J. of Att. Dis. XXXX; XX(X) XX-XX).
    Journal of Attention Disorders 02/2014; · 2.40 Impact Factor
  • Liselotte Pedersen, Erik Simonsen
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Personality disorders (PDs) are prevalent in about one in every 10 adults. Prior to the introduction of the ICD-10 in Denmark, the incidence rate for PD (including schizotypal) among psychiatric patients was approximately 12% and the prevalence rate 14%. Aims: The aim of the present clinical epidemiology study is to investigate the use of ICD-10 PD as primary and secondary diagnoses in years 1995, 2000 and 2006, comorbid disorders and their relation to age and gender. Methods: The study includes all adult patients admitted to any psychiatric hospital (inpatients and outpatients) in Denmark. Results: Both incidence and prevalence rates of PD diagnoses decrease over the study period. It is evident that all specific diagnoses significantly decrease or remain stable whereas the unspecified and mixed type significantly increases constituting up to 50% of diagnoses. Emotionally unstable PD stands out as the single most prevalent covering around one third of PD diagnoses. A decrease is found in the prevalence of patients receiving a PD diagnosis as a primary diagnosis, but an increase as a secondary diagnosis (most often as comorbid to depression or anxiety disorder). Differences are found in relation to gender and age. Conclusion: PDs are among the most prevalent disorders; however, rates are decreasing in psychiatric settings. There seem to be a rather huge gap between clinical evaluation and research data on prevalence of PDs. Clinicians need more education and sufficient time for in-depth personality assessment of PDs in all patient groups.
    Nordic journal of psychiatry 02/2014; · 0.99 Impact Factor
  • Ole Jakob Storebø, Erik Simonsen
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Children with ADHD have an increased risk of later developing personality disorders and criminal behavior. The object of the present review is to analyze the associations between ADHD and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Method: A review of literature was done using EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Medline databases. Results: Eighteen prospective studies (n = 5,501) showed that ADHD with and without comorbid conduct disorder (CD) is a strong predictor for the risk of later development of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Some of the 13 cross-sectional/retrospective studies (n = 2,451) suggested that ADHD and CD might be a separate subtype of ADHD, that especially impulsivity in ADHD is a predictor for later development of ASPD, or that callous-unemotional traits in the ADHD children are called for a risk factor for later ASPD. Conclusion: There is an increased risk for children with ADHD with or without comorbid CD to develop later onset of antisocial personality disorder. (J. of Att. Dis. 2013; XX(X) 1-XX).
    Journal of Attention Disorders 11/2013; · 2.40 Impact Factor
  • Ole Jakob Storebø, Erik Simonsen
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Several studies report associations between adults with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and a history of attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) symptoms in childhood. Aims: To explore the association between BPD and a history of ADHD in childhood. Method: A comprehensive search of EMBASE, PsychInfo and Medline and hand-searching yielded 238 "hits". Fifteen articles were found to have sufficient quality and relevance to be included in the final review. The data were considered in six possible explanatory psychopathological models of the association between ADHD and BPD. Results: Most of the 15 articles showed a statistical association between ADHD and BPD. The data, most strongly provided a basis for the hypotheses that ADHD is either an early developmental stage of BPD, or that the two disorders share an environmental and genetic aetiology. Furthermore, one of the disorders seems to give a synergic effect, reinforce the other or complicate the disorders. In one prospective study, the risk factor for children with ADHD to develop BPD was as high as odds ratio 13.16. No studies have looked at treatment of ADHD as a mediator of the risk for BPD. Conclusions: Many studies pointed at shared aetiology or the risk for development of one disorder, when the other disorder is present. The data do not evaluate how treatment factors or other factors mediate the risk or how overlap of diagnostic criteria adds to the statistical association. More research is much needed, in particular studies looking at early intervention and which treatment of ADHD that might prevent later development of BPD.
    Nordic journal of psychiatry 10/2013; · 0.99 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology 08/2013; 24(4):496-513. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cognitive deficits are documented in first-episode psychosis (FEP), but the continuing course is not fully understood. The present study examines the longitudinal development of neurocognitive function in a five year follow-up of FEP-patients, focusing on the relation to illness severity, as measured by relapses and diagnostic subgroups. The study is an extension of previous findings from the TIPS-project, reporting stability over the first two years. Sixty-two FEP patients (53% male, age 28±9years) were neuropsychologically examined at baseline and at 1, 2, and 5year follow-ups. The test battery was divided into five indices; Verbal Learning, Executive Function, Impulsivity, Motor Speed, and Working Memory. To investigate the effect of illness severity, the sample was divided in groups based on number of relapses, and diagnostic subgroups, respectively. Impulsivity and Working Memory improved significantly in the first two years, followed by no change over the next three years. Motor Speed decreased significantly from 2 to 5years. Number of relapses was significantly related to Verbal Learning and Working Memory, showing a small decrease and less improvement, respectively, in patients with two or more episodes. No significant association was found with diagnostic group. Neurocognitive stability as well as change was found in a sample of FEP-patients examined repeatedly over 5years. Of potential greater importance for understanding how psychotic illnesses progress, is the finding of significant associations between neurocognition and number of relapses but not diagnostic group, indicating that neurocognition is more related to recurring psychotic episodes than to the descriptive diagnosis per se.
    Schizophrenia Research 06/2013; · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: AIM: The Scandinavian TIPS project engineered an early detection of psychosis programme that sought to reduce the duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) through early detection teams and extensive information campaigns since 1997. In 1997-2000, DUP was reduced from 26 to 4.5 weeks median. The programme was continued beyond the initial project in modified forms for over 13 years. The aim of this study was to track the vicissitudes of DUP over an 18-year period (1993-2010) with differing early detection efforts in a defined catchment area. METHOD: The DUP of all patients meeting criteria for first episode psychosis was measured 1993-1994 and from 1997 to 2010 in a naturalistic long-term study. DUP values of all patients were included, irrespective of patients' participation in a clinical follow-up study, yielding a highly representative sample. RESULTS: DUP varied across studies with differing information campaign intensity and content. These variations will be described and explored. CONCLUSIONS: Early detection campaigns should have a stable focus and high intensity level. Future research should further elucidate pathways to care in order to establish principal targets for information campaigns.
    Early Intervention in Psychiatry 06/2013; · 1.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Research has repeatedly demonstrated that schizophrenia has a small but significant association with violence. It is further recognised that a subgroup of people with such links also have personality disorders, but the extent to which type of violence or aggression varies according to subgroup is less clear. This study aimed to investigate, among co-morbid cases, if the number or type of personality disorders predicts type of aggression. In a cross-sectional study, 108 patients with schizophrenia were assessed for personality disorder, Axis-I diagnosis, verbal IQ, social functioning and type of aggression. Logistic regression revealed that the more personality disorders identified (Cluster B personality disorders compared with Clusters A and C) and anti-social personality disorder compared with other Cluster B disorders significantly predicted premeditated aggression. These findings suggest that detailed personality assessment should be a routine part of comprehensive assessment of patients with schizophrenia. Improved knowledge of the presence and type of personality disorders may help detect and manage the risk of some types of aggression. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health 04/2013; 23(2):124-37. · 1.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Personality pathology affects behavioral patterns in patients with schizophrenia notwithstanding psychotic symptomatology. An investigation of the role of co-morbid personality pathology in the occurrence of aggression in schizophrenia is explored using both categorical and dimensional approaches to personality pathology. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study we evaluate, in 97 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, the effect of personality pathology on the occurrence of aggression in schizophrenia using both a categorical approach, as described in DSM-IV-TR Axis II, and a dimensional approach, as operationalized in the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology-Basic Questionnaire (DAPP-BQ). We also employ mediation analyses to explore the extent to which dimensions within the DAPP mediate the relationship between co-morbid personality disorders and aggression. RESULTS: Personality pathology accounts for aggression in schizophrenia. Both the categorical and the dimensional approaches equally well account for the occurrence of aggression, with each model accounting for 60% of the variance. Interestingly, the mediation analysis reveals that the association between categorically defined personality pathology and aggression is substantially mediated by the higher-order-trait dissocial behavior of the DAPP-BQ, accounting for 50.6 % of the total effect size. CONCLUSION: Personality pathology can be a significant predictor of aggression in patients with schizophrenia. While both the categorical and the dimensional trait models of personality disorders equally explain the aggression data, much of the relationship between the categorically defined personality disorders and the occurrence of aggression in schizophrenia can be explained by the presence of dissocial behavior as operationalized in the DAPP-BQ dimensional model.
    Comprehensive psychiatry 01/2013; · 2.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Neurocognitive impairment is commonly reported at onset of psychotic disorders. However, the long-term neurocognitive course remains largely uninvestigated in first episode psychosis (FEP) and the relationship to clinically significant subgroups even more so. We report 10 year longitudinal neurocognitive development in a sample of FEP patients, and explore whether the trajectories of cognitive course are related to presence of relapse to psychosis, especially within the first year, with a focus on the course of verbal memory. Method: Forty-three FEP subjects (51% male, 28 ± 9 years) were followed-up neurocognitively over five assessments spanning 10 years. The test battery was divided into four neurocognitive indices; Executive Function, Verbal Learning, Motor Speed, and Verbal Fluency. The sample was grouped into those relapsing or not within the first, second and fifth year. Results: The four neurocognitive indices showed overall stability over the 10 year period. Significant relapse by index interactions were found for all indices except Executive Function. Follow-up analyses identified a larger significant decrease over time for the encoding measure within Verbal Memory for patients with psychotic relapse in the first year [F (4, 38) = 5.8, p = 0.001, η(2) = 0.40]. Conclusions: Main findings are long-term stability in neurocognitive functioning in FEP patients, with the exception of verbal memory in patients with psychotic relapse or non-remission early in the course of illness. We conclude that worsening of specific parts of cognitive function may be expected for patients with on-going psychosis, but that the majority of patients do not show significant change in cognitive performance during the first 10 years after being diagnosed.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2013; 7:643. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Most interventions for depression have shown small or no effects. 'Third wave' cognitive therapy and mentalization-based therapy have both gained some ground as treatments of psychological problems. No randomised trial has compared the effects of these two interventions for patients with major depression. Methods/ Design: We plan a randomised, parallel group, assessor-blinded superiority clinical trial. During two years we will include 84 consecutive adult participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The participants will be randomised to either 'third wave' cognitive therapy versus mentalization-based therapy. The primary outcome will be the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression at cessation of treatment at 18 weeks. Secondary outcomes will be the proportion of patients with remission, Symptom Checklist 90 Revised, Beck's Depression Inventory, and The World Health Organisation-Five Well-being Index 1999. DISCUSSION: Interventions for depression have until now shown relatively small effects. Our trial results will provide knowledge about the effects of two modern psychotherapeutic interventions.
    BMC Psychiatry 12/2012; 12(1):232. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Langeveld, J., Andreassen, O. A., Auestad, B., Faerden, A., Hauge, L. J., Joa, I., Johannessen, J. O., Melle, I., Rund, B. R., Røssberg, J. I., Simonsen, E., Vaglum, P. & Larsen, T. K. (2012). Is there an optimal factor structure of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale in patients with first-episode psychosis? Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) is the most widely used scale to assess a variety of symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and other psychoses. The factor structure of the PANSS has been examined with confirmatory factor analyses in several studies, but not in a well-defined first-episode psychosis sample. The aim of this paper is to examine the statistical fit of five different PANSS models in a first-episode, non-affective psychosis sample. Confirmatory factor analyses were performed on PANSS data (n = 588). A main criterion for best fit was defined as the Expected Cross Validation Index (ECVI). No tested model revealed an optimally satisfactory model fit index. The Wallwork/Fortgang five-factor model demonstrated the most optimal psychometric properties. The corresponding subscales of all evaluated five-factor models were strongly intercorrelated. The Wallwork/Fortgang five-factor model was found to be statistically and clinically ideal among patients with first-episode psychosis. Therefore, we recommend this model in forthcoming studies among patients with first-episode psychosis. However, to prevent the loss of clinically valuable information on an item level, we do not recommend removing any items from the original form. Our study also implies that the specific choice of model will not have a substantial effect on outcome results in studies on the course and outcome in first-episode psychosis.
    Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 12/2012; · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Poor symptom outcome remains a challenge in psychosis: At least 50% of first-episode patients continue to have positive and/or negative symptoms after ten years. OBJECTIVE: To investigate rates, early predictors and early symptom progression of long-term non-remitted psychosis in an early detection study. METHODS: Symptomatic remission according to new international criteria was assessed in 174 patients at ten-year follow-up. Remitted and non-remitted patients were compared on early symptom progression, and logistic regression was applied to predict non-remission. RESULTS: At ten years, 50% of patients were in symptomatic remission. Non-remission was predicted by positive symptoms at inclusion and during the first year of treatment. Of individual symptoms only hallucinations were significantly predictive of ten-year non-remission. Early symptom differences were not reflected by differences in treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term symptomatic non-remission is associated with early positive symptoms. More assertive intervention may be needed in patients who do not respond robustly in the first year of treatment, whether or not they have been detected "early".
    Schizophrenia Research 12/2012; · 4.43 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

995 Citations
248.60 Total Impact Points


  • 2014
    • University of Copenhagen
      • Department of Public Health
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 2009–2014
    • IT University of Copenhagen
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 2011–2013
    • Næstved Hospital
      Нествед, Zealand, Denmark
    • Copenhagen University Hospital
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
    • Copenhagen Trial Unit
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 2008–2013
    • University of Bergen
      Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
  • 2007–2013
    • Roskilde University
      • Department of Psychology and Educational Studies (PAES)
      Roskilde, Zealand, Denmark
    • University of Oslo
      • • Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine
      • • Department of Psychology
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway
  • 2007–2012
    • Stavanger University Hospital
      • Division of Psychiatry
      Stavanger, Rogaland Fylke, Norway
  • 2004–2012
    • Oslo University Hospital
      • Division of Mental Health and Addiction
      Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 2006–2011
    • Roskilde Hospital
      Roskilde, Zealand, Denmark
    • University of Stavanger (UiS)
      • Faculty of Science and Technology
      Stavenger, Rogaland, Norway
  • 2010
    • Vestre Viken Hospital Trust
      Drammen, Buskerud county, Norway