There are only a few studies that have studied the prevalence of psychotic experiences (PEs) in a representative population-based sample and a broad range of age. The association and predictive role of PEs in the context of psychotic and other mental disorders remains a subject of discussion. The Mental Health Module of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults is the first wave of a German health monitoring survey describing:
– the distribution and frequency, the severity and the impairments of a wide range of mental disorders;
– risk factors as well as patterns of help-seeking and health care utilization;
– associations between mental and somatic disorders.
A total of 4483 participants participated in the mental health section of the survey. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview, the Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale and the Peter's Delusion Inventory were used to assess PEs by clinically experienced interviewers. We can confirm and extend previous findings for younger age groups that PEs are very frequent psychopathological expressions in the general population across genders and all age groups. PEs rates were elevated among those with other mental disorders, particularly among possible psychotic disorders, PTSD and affective disorders. This points to the relevant role of PEs as a marker for psychopathology and mental disorders. Future prospective studies will have to focus on specific properties of psychotic experiences such as their appraisal or underlying social influences to determine their significance for the prediction of psychotic and other mental disorders.
Disclosure of interest
The author has not supplied his declaration of competing interest.