The Prevalence and Correlates of Hallucinations in Australian Adolescents: Results from a National Survey

Child & Youth Mental Health Service, Royal Children's Hospital, Herston, Qld, 4029, Australia.
Schizophrenia Research (Impact Factor: 3.92). 12/2008; 107(2-3):179-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2008.11.002
Source: PubMed


There is an emerging interest in children and adolescents who have hallucinations and other psychotic-like experiences to enable identification of those potentially at risk for schizophrenia in adulthood. This study examines the prevalence, demographic and clinical correlates of hallucinations in the adolescent subgroup of the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Participants were a nationally representative sample of 1261 adolescents aged 13-17 years. Adolescents completed self-report questionnaires with two questions relating to hallucinations and questions pertaining to depressive symptoms and cannabis use. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC-IV). Hallucinations were reported by 8.4% of adolescents. Those living in blended or sole parent families were more likely to report hallucinations than those living with both biological parents (OR 3.27; 95% CI 1.93, 5.54; OR 2.60; 95% CI 1.63, 4.13 respectively). Hallucinations were more prevalent in adolescents who scored in the highest decile of the CBCL or had elevated depression symptoms (OR 3.30; 95% CI 2.10, 5.20; OR 5.02; 95% CI 3.38, 7.45 respectively). Hallucinations were associated with depressive disorder (OR 2.70; 95% CI 1.16, 6.28) and were more prevalent in those adolescents who had smoked cannabis more than twice in the month prior to the survey (OR 3.27; 95% CI 1.76, 6.08). Hallucinations occur relatively frequently in adolescents and are associated with a range of demographic and clinical correlates. Further research may assist in understanding the variable trajectory of children and adolescents who hallucinate.

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    • "Finally, previous research often only investigates predictors of a single PLE (e.g. hallucinations; Scott et al., 2009). However, theorists have called for the identification of relationships between different specific symptoms and predictor variables (Garety et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Adolescent psychotic like experiences (PLEs) are an important area of research, yet only a small number of community surveys have investigated their psychosocial correlates. This study presents the prevalence and correlates of three types of PLEs in a nationally representative community sample of 12–19 year olds in Ireland (N = 5910). Correlates are considered across five domains: demographic, stressful life experiences, emotional/behavioral problems, substance use, and personal resources. Auditory hallucinations were reported by 13.7% of participants, 10.4% reported visual hallucinations and 13.1% reported paranoid thoughts. Participants who had experienced two of the three PLEs were assigned “risk” status (10.4%; n = 616). Using binary logistic regression, PLEs were associated with a range of correlates across the five domains. Key correlates of risk status include depression (OR 4.07; 95% CI 3.39–4.88), low self-esteem (OR 4.03 95% CI 3.34–4.86), low optimism (OR 3.56; 95% CI 2.96–4.28), school misconduct (OR 3.10 95%; CI 2.56–3.75), and high avoidance coping (OR 2.86 95% CI 2.34–3.49). These associations remained significant in a multivariate analysis. While correlates for each of the three PLEs were similar, there were some nuances in these patterns. Notably, demographic and substance use variables were the weakest groups of correlates. Personal resources (e.g. self-esteem, optimism and coping) have been poorly studied in the adolescent PLE literature and these findings provide important insights for future research and intervention design.
    Schizophrenia Research 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2015.09.005 · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    • "As in schizophrenia (Buckley et al. 2009; Achim et al. 2011), concurrent mental illness is very common in PE in children. Diagnoses appear across the spectrum (Nishida et al. 2008; Scott et al. 2009; Polanczyk et al. 2010; Jeppesen et al. 2015a) but, as we have previously shown with data from the same sample as the current study, anxiety and depression may be particularly frequent (Jeppesen et al. 2015a). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Knowledge on the risk mechanisms of psychotic experiences (PE) is still limited. The aim of this population-based study was to explore developmental markers of PE with a particular focus on the specificity of hyper-theory-of-mind (HyperToM) as correlate of PE as opposed to correlate of any mental disorder. Method: We assessed 1630 children from the Copenhagen Child Cohort 2000 regarding PE and HyperToM at the follow-up at 11-12 years. Mental disorders were diagnosed by clinical ratings based on standardized parent-, teacher- and self-reported psychopathology. Logistic regression analyses were performed to test the correlates of PE and HyperToM, and the specificity of correlates of PE v. correlates of any Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) mental disorder. Results: Univariate analyses showed the following correlates of PE: familial psychiatric liability; parental mental illness during early child development; change in family composition; low family income; regulatory problems in infancy; onset of puberty; bullying; concurrent mental disorder; and HyperToM. When estimating the adjusted effects, only low family income, concurrent mental disorder, bullying and HyperToM remained significantly associated with PE. Further analyses of the specificity of these correlates with regard to outcome revealed that HyperToM was the only variable specifically associated with PE without concurrent mental disorder. Finally, HyperToM did not share any of the investigated precursors with PE. Conclusions: HyperToM may have a specific role in the risk trajectories of PE, being specifically associated with PE in preadolescent children, independently of other family and child risk factors associated with PE and overall psychopathology at this age.
    Psychological Medicine 09/2015; DOI:10.1017/S0033291715001567 · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    • "In fact , co - morbidity with depression is one of the most consistent findings regarding PEs in general population samples ( Dhossche et al . 2002 ; Scott et al . 2009 ; Armando et al . 2010 ; van Rossum et al . 2011 ; Varghese et al . 2011 ; Kelleher et al . 2012a ) . One in - terpretation of this is that PEs might be a manifestation of depression rather than an indication of abnormal pathology underlying schizophrenia - related disorders ."
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    ABSTRACT: Background: An argument often used to support the view that psychotic experiences (PEs) in general population samples are a valid phenotype for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia is that risk factors for schizophrenia show similar patterns of association with PEs. However, PEs often co-occur with depression, and no study has explicitly tested whether risk factors for schizophrenia are shared between PEs and depression, or are psychopathology specific, while jointly modelling both outcomes. Method: We used data from 7030 subjects from a birth cohort study. Depression and PEs at age 18 years were assessed using self-report questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. We compared the extent to which risk factors for schizophrenia across sociodemographic, familial, neurodevelopmental, stress-adversity, emotional-behavioural and substance use domains showed different associations with PEs and depression within bivariate models that allowed for their correlation. Results: Most of the exposures examined were associated, to a similar degree, with an increased risk of both outcomes. However, whereas female sex and family history of depression showed some discrimination as potential risk factors for depression and PEs, with stronger associations in the former, markers of abnormal neurodevelopment showed stronger associations with PEs. Conclusions: The argument that PEs are valid markers for studying the aetiology of schizophrenia, made simply on the basis that they share risk factors in common, is not well supported. PEs seem to be a weak index of genetic and environmental risk for schizophrenia; however, studies disentangling aetiological pathways to PEs from those impacting upon co-morbid psychopathology might provide important insights into the aetiology of psychotic disorders.
    Psychological Medicine 09/2014; 44(12):2557-2566. DOI:10.1017/S0033291714000026 · 5.94 Impact Factor
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