Impact of childhood adversity on the onset and course of subclinical psychosis symptoms — Results from a 30-year prospective community study

Schizophrenia Research (Impact Factor: 4.43). 03/2014; 153(1-3). DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2014.01.040

ABSTRACT The study objective was to examine childhood adversity in association with intra-individual changes and inter-individual differences in subclinical psychosis in a representative community cohort over a 30-year period of observation.
We analyzed two psychosis syndromes derived from the SCL-90-R – schizotypal signs and schizophrenia nuclear symptoms – in 335 participants. Participants were repeatedly assessed between 1978 (around age 20) and 2008 (around age 50). We focused specifically on inter-individual differences and intra-individual changes over time by applying structural equation modeling, generalized linear models, and generalized estimating equations.
Several weak inter-individual differences revealed that increased schizotypal signs are related to various childhood adversities, such as being repeatedly involved in fights and parents having severe conflicts among themselves. We also found a significant positive association between schizotypal signs and the total number of adversities a subject experienced. This pointed toward a modest dose–response relationship. The intra-individual change in schizotypal signs over time was rather weak, although some adjustment did occur. In contrast, inter-individual schizophrenia nuclear symptoms were mainly unrelated to childhood adversity. However, some striking intra-individual changes in distress were noted over time, especially those linked with severe punishment and the total adversity score.
In conclusion, we have confirmed previous positive findings about the association between childhood adversity and subsequent subclinical psychosis symptoms: An increase in adversity is weakly related to an increase of the psychosis symptom load. However, depending on the kind of adversity experienced the psychosis symptom load decreases gradually in adult life.

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    ABSTRACT: Several studies have demonstrated that expression of a psychosis phenotype can be observed below the threshold of its clinical detection. To date, however, no conceptual certainty has been reported for the validity and reliability of sub-clinical psychosis. Our main objectives were to assess the prevalence rates and severity of various psychosis symptoms in a representative community sample. Furthermore, we wanted to analyze which latent factors are depicted by several currently used psychosis questionnaires. We also examined how those latent factors for sub-clinical psychosis are linked to psychosocial factors, normal personality traits, and coping abilities related to chronic stress. Most of the eight subscales from the Paranoia Checklist and the Structured Interview for Assessing Perceptual Anomalies had a very similar type of distribution, i.e., an inverse Gaussian (Wald) distribution. This supported the notion of a continuity of psychotic symptoms, which we would expect to find for continuously distributed symptoms within the general population. Sub-clinical psychosis can be reduced to two different factors - one representing odd beliefs about the world and odd behavior, and the other one representing anomalous perceptions (such as hallucinations). Persons with odd beliefs and behavior are under greater burden and more susceptible to psychosocial risks than are persons with anomalous perceptions. These sub-clinical psychosis syndromes are also related to stable personality traits. In conclusion, we obtained strong support for the notion that there is no natural cut-off separating psychotic illness from good health. Sub-clinical psychosis of any kind is not trivial because it is associated with various types of social disability. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Schizophrenia Research 12/2014; 161(2-3). DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2014.11.033 · 4.43 Impact Factor


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May 27, 2014