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Prospective Study of Peer Victimization in Childhood and Psychotic Symptoms in a Nonclinical Population at Age 12 Years

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Psychotic symptoms are commonly experienced in nonclinical populations of adolescents and adults and have been shown to be predictive of later schizophreniform disorders. Associations between adverse experiences in childhood and psychotic symptoms in adulthood have been demonstrated. To examine whether peer victimization is associated with psychotic symptoms in a population-based sample of 12-year-olds. Prospective cohort study. Assessment clinic for 12-year-old members of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children birth cohort in Bristol, England, where parents had participated since pregnancy and their children completed a range of physical and psychological annual assessments since age 7 years. A total of 6437 respondents with complete interviews (mean age, 12.9 years). The Psychosis-like Symptoms Interview developed for the study using stem questions, glossary definitions, and rating rules, adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-IV and the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry. The interview, carried out by trained psychology graduates, investigated respondents' experience of psychotic symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders) over the previous 6 months. The risk of psychotic symptoms was increased about 2-fold (odds ratio = 1.94; 95% confidence interval, 1.54-2.44) among victims of bullying at ages 8 and/or 10 years, independent of other prior psychopathology, family adversity, or child's IQ. Similar results were found using mother and teacher reports of victimization. Associations were stronger (up to odds ratio = 4.60; 95% confidence interval, 3.24-6.50) when victimization was chronic or severe (ie, experience of relational as well as overt victimization reported). Peer victimization in childhood, especially if it is chronic or severe, is associated with psychotic symptoms in early adolescence. These results lend further support to the relevance of psychosocial factors in the etiology of psychotic symptoms in nonclinical populations, which may increase the risk of adult-onset psychotic disorders.
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... In China, it has been reported that 13.13% of youths were victims of bullying [10]. Previous studies have shown that bullying victimization not only leads to increased behavioral and emotional problems [11], psychiatric symptoms [12], and reduced academic performance [13], but is also associated with increased risk of suicidal ideation and behaviors [14]. ...
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Background School bullying victimization is associated with increased risk of anxiety in children and adolescents. However, little is known about the role of resilience in this association. The purpose of this study was to investigate the possible mediation by resilience in this association in a large group of Chinese children and adolescents. Methods A population-based cross-sectional study adopting two-stage simple random cluster sampling was implemented in Yunnan province, southwestern China. A comprehensive questionnaire was used to collect information from the participants. Among all the participants, 4624 were included in the final analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to present general characteristics of the study participants. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were adopted to estimate crude and adjusted associations among bullying victimization, anxiety, and resilience. A path model was used to analyze the hypothesized mediation by resilience in the association between bullying victimization and anxiety. Results Analytical results of multivariate logistic regression models suggested that bullying victimization was significantly associated with anxiety in Chinese children and adolescents; compared with individuals who had not been bullied, victims of bullying were more likely to experience anxiety symptoms, with an adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 3.02 (95% CI 2.46–3.71). Path analysis revealed a prominent mediating effect of resilience in the association between bullying victimization and anxiety, accounting for 31.89% of the total association. Further analysis indicated that, among the five dimensions of resilience, emotional regulation, interpersonal assistance, and family support were significant mediators, accounting for 30.34%, 10.79%, and 8.35% of the total association. Conclusions Our major findings highlighted the promising role of resilience-based intervention measures in reducing the risk of anxiety associated with school bullying victimization in Chinese children and adolescents.
... PLEs over past one month were assessed by the 8-item Positive Subscale of the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-P8), which was derived from the 42-item Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE) (Konings et al., 2006;Mark and Toulopoulou, 2017;Stefanis et al., 2002). Item selection was guided by previous studies (Arseneault et al., 2011;McGrath et al., 2015;Schreier et al., 2009), and widely used in Chinese population (Sun et al., 2017a;Sun et al., 2017b). The CAPE-P8 clusters into two dimensions (hallucinatory experiences (6 items) and delusional experiences (2 items)) with responses on a 4-point scale, ranging from 1 (never) to 4 (nearly always). ...
Article
Background Sleep disturbance may cause psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). The present study aimed to exam their rate of co-occurrence and investigate whether resilience buffers the association. Methods A total of 50,625 junior high school students were assessed using the self-compiled socio-demographics and sleep questionnaires, 8-item Positive Subscale of the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences, 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire. Results In this sample, 15.8% participants had frequent PLEs in the past month, where 40.1% exhibited comorbid sleep disturbance. Sleep disturbance positively associated with the onset of frequent PLEs, after adjusting for socio-demographics, depression and anxiety. Moderation analysis showed resilience buffers the association between sleep disturbance and PLEs, with a higher level of resilience, the positive effect of sleep disturbance on PLEs would be diminished to a greater extent. Conclusions These findings suggested that early attention should be drawn to adolescents with sleep disturbance. Intervention strategies should be enhancing resilience, increasing sleep duration and improving sleep quality.
... For example, early life stress shapes the developing brain by altering expression of genes and proteins in the cortex and hippocampus [3][4][5][6] and results in enduring dysregulation of stress hormone secretion via changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis [7][8][9]. Importantly, early life stress increases risk for anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia [10][11][12][13][14]. ...
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Early life stress shapes the developing brain and increases risk for psychotic disorders. Yet, it is not fully understood how early life stress impacts brain regions in dopaminergic pathways whose dysfunction can contribute to psychosis. Therefore, we investigated gene expression following early life stress in adult brain regions containing dopamine neuron cell bodies (substantia nigra, ventral tegmental area (VTA)) and terminals (dorsal/ventral striatum). Sprague–Dawley rats (14F, 10M) were separated from their mothers from postnatal days (PND) 2–14 for 3 h/day to induce stress, while control rats (12F, 10M) were separated for 15 min/day over the same period. In adulthood (PND98), brain regions were dissected, RNA was isolated and five glucocorticoid signalling-related and six brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf) mRNAs were assayed by qPCR in four brain regions. In the VTA, levels of glucocorticoid signalling-related transcripts differed in maternally separated rodents compared to controls, with the Fkbp5 transcript significantly lower and Ptges3 transcript significantly higher in stressed offspring. In the VTA and substantia nigra, maternally separated rodents had significantly higher Bdnf IIA and III mRNA levels than controls. By contrast, in the ventral striatum, maternally separated rodents had significantly lower expression of Bdnf I, IIA, IIC, IV and VI transcripts. Sex differences in Nr3c1, Bag1 and Fkbp5 expression in the VTA and substantia nigra were also detected. Our results suggest that early life stress has long-lasting impacts on brain regions involved in dopamine neurotransmission, changing the trophic environment and potentially altering responsiveness to subsequent stressful events in a sex-specific pattern.
... Several lines of evidence have shown that both maltreatment in family and bully victimization in schools would increase the expression of psychosis phenotype (57)(58)(59). Individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis often reported various types of childhood trauma and bullying experiences, as well as anxiety and depression (60)(61)(62). ...
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Objectives: Both bullying and psychosis-like experiences (PLEs) have gained much attention in recent years, but their interactions are not fully unraveled. The aim of the current study was to validate the Chinese version of Bullying Scale for Adults (C-BSA), and to investigate whether past bullying experiences independently predict the presence of PLEs in university students. Methods: The validity and reliability of the C-BSA were determined in two independent samples. A battery of psychological inventories was also administered to assess the presence of PLEs, maltreatment history in the family, and current depression and anxiety, including the 15-item positive subscale of the community assessment of psychic experiences (CAPE-p15), the Chinese version of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), and Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS). Results: In the construction sample (N = 629), a Cronbach's α of 0.921 indicated a good internal consistency of C-BSA. The exploratory factor analysis (EFA) yielded a four-factor model and a three-factor model, and both were verified by using the confirmatory factorial analysis (CFA) in the validation sample (N = 629). The total scores of C-BSA were significantly correlated with that of CTQ, CAPE-p15, SDS, and SAS. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that bullying was associated with 2.0 or 3.7 times of risk for the presence of PLEs (numbers of bullying types < = 3 or > 3, respectively) after controlling for CTQ, SDS, and SAS scores. Conclusions: C-BSA has shown good psychometric properties in college students. The contribution of past bullying experiences to the present PLEs seems to be independent of other childhood trauma, current depression, and anxiety.
... In particular, peer victimization, especially if chronic or severe, has been associated with psychotic symptoms in adolescence (Schreier et al., 2009) and with the potential for increased risk of psychosis in adults (Lataster et al., 2006). It is possible that premorbid disturbances in childhood may predispose children to peer victimization and contribute to increased risk for later psychopathology. ...
Article
Repeated findings have linked pre- and perinatal risk factors to a variety of mental disorders. Some studies have found large magnitudes of association, suggesting that fetal development represents an important period for understanding neurodevelopmental sequelae. Nevertheless, it remains unclear how best to translate the existing findings into early identification, prevention, and treatment strategies that would be useful for pregnant populations and/or for their offspring. This article will discuss key ethical considerations surrounding the incorporation of findings from studies of the associations between obstetric complications and risk for mental disorders into prevention and prediction efforts.
... These results are encouraging since earlier studies have showed an increased risk of bullying victimization in youth with special needs [25]. Childhood bullying has also been associated to increased psychotic symptoms in early adolescence [43]. In the current study, bullying was not associated to the severity of psychotic symptoms, which is probably due to the low levels of peer victimization reported by our participants. ...
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Background 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is a neurogenetic condition associated to a high risk for psychiatric disorders, including psychosis. Individuals with 22q11DS are thought to experience increased levels of chronic stress, which could lead to alterations in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA)-axis functioning. In the current study, we investigated for the first time diurnal salivary cortisol profiles in adolescents and young adults with 22q11DS as well as their link with stress exposure, coping strategies and psychopathology, including psychotic symptoms. Methods Salivary cortisol was collected from adolescents and young adults with 22q11DS (n = 30, age = 19.7) and matched healthy controls (HC; n = 36, age = 18.5) six times a day for two days. Exposure to stressful life events, including peer victimization, coping strategies and general psychopathology were assessed with questionnaires. Psychotic symptoms were evaluated with a clinical interview. Results We observed similar daily levels and diurnal profiles of salivary cortisol in adolescents and young adults with 22q11DS compared to HCs. However, participants with 22q11DS reported less frequent exposure to stress than HCs. In 22q11DS, we observed a significant association between the use of non-adaptive coping strategies and the severity of positive symptoms. Cortisol level was not associated to severity of psychotic symptoms, but elevated cortisol awakening response (CAR) was found in participants with 22q11DS with higher levels of general psychopathology. Conclusions Our results do not support earlier propositions of altered HPA-axis functioning in 22q11DS but highlight the need to further investigate diurnal cortisol as an indicator of HPA-axis functioning and its link with (earlier) stress exposure and psychopathology in this population. Interventions should target the development of adaptive coping skills in preventing psychosis in 22q11DS.
... of first-year college students based on a subjective prodromal questionnaire (CPQ-16 scores of 9 or higher). However, the rate of (Fisher et al., 2013;Gibson et al., 2016;Schreier et al., 2009). In our study, emotional abuse, emotional neglect and physical neglect scores were positively correlated with suicidal ideation in the correlation analyses. ...
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Aim The present study aimed to investigate the prevalence rate of objective and subjective psychosis-like experiences (PLEs) in non-help-seeking college students and to explore their differential contributions to suicidal ideation. Methods First-year college students were recruited and surveyed with the Chinese version of the 16-item Prodromal Questionnaire (CPQ-16), Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-SF), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), General Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation (BSI). The Structured Interview of Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS) was conducted in individuals with a CPQ-16 score of 9 or higher. Results Data were available for 8367 students. Three hundred and seventy of them scored 9 or higher on the CPQ-16, suggesting potential PLEs (4.42%). Among them, 194 agreed to the SIPS screening. The PLEs were confirmed in 103 individuals who scored 1–5 on any positive symptom scales of the SIPS (objective PLEs, oPLEs). For the remaining 91 individuals, their PLEs were not confirmed by the SIPS and thus were categorized as individuals with subjective PLEs (sPLEs). In univariate logistic regression, oPLEs was associated with a two times risk of suicidal ideation compared to sPLEs (OR = 1.971, p = .029). In multivariate logistic regression when non-PLE status was set as a reference, oPLEs significantly predicted suicidal ideation (OR = 3.441, p = .011), while the sPLEs (OR = 2.277, p = .091) was no longer a significant predictor after controlling for PHQ-9, GAD-7 and CPQ-SF scores. Conclusions OPLEs and sPLEs have differential contributions to suicidal ideation. OPLEs seems to be associated with a higher risk of suicidal ideation and is independent of other psychopathology.
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Body dissatisfaction (BD) is considered one of the most important risk factors for the development of an eating disorder (ED), and low self-esteem a confirmed psychological trait of vulnerability. People with ED or related characteristics suffer more often (two to three times more) from bullying or teasing related to appearance. Special mention should be made of participants in intimidation and harassment behaviors, both as victims or perpetrators, who are at greater risk of developing food symptoms. The results are homogeneous when the control group is made up of the general population and more contradictory with psychiatric control groups. It is also necessary to study cyberbullying because of its relevance. Teasing interventions do not appear to be a priority in ED prevention programs, although EAT-IV results support the importance of targeting weight-related ridicule in education and health initiatives, and of including the family environment as a target in anti-bullying interventions, especially in girls. It will be necessary to consider different models of preventive intervention depending on their gender. In both sexes, personal and socio-family education interventions would be appropriate to expand a more flexible body aesthetic model. Interventions based on health promotion and education to improve self-esteem, where positive body image is promoted with face-to-face interventions, have been successful in reducing BD and ED. Body Project, ZARIMA, DITCA and AMEMC are effective programs.
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