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Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
It has been proposed that the relationship between childhood trauma and hallucinations can be explained by dissociative processes. The present study examined whether the effect of childhood trauma on hallucination-proneness is mediated by dissociative tendencies. In addition, the influence of dissociative symptoms on a cognitive process believed to underlie hallucinatory experiences (i.e. reality discrimination; the capacity to discriminate between internal and external cognitive events) was also investigated.
Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (n=45) and healthy controls (with no history of hallucinations; n=20) completed questionnaire measures of hallucination-proneness, dissociative tendencies and childhood trauma, as well as performing an auditory signal detection task.
Compared to both healthy and non-hallucinating clinical controls, hallucinating patients reported both significantly higher dissociative tendencies and childhood sexual abuse. Dissociation positively mediated the effect of childhood trauma on hallucination-proneness. This mediational role was particularly robust for sexual abuse over other types of trauma. Signal detection abnormalities were evident in hallucinating patients and patients with a history of hallucinations, but were not associated with pathological dissociative symptoms.
These results are consistent with dissociative accounts of the trauma-hallucinations link. Dissociation, however, does not affect reality discrimination. Future research should examine whether other cognitive processes associated with both dissociative states and hallucinations (e.g. deficits in cognitive inhibition) may explain the relationship between dissociation and hallucinatory experiences.
The relationship between cannabis use and psychosis is still a matter for debate. Accounting for the individual differences in subjective experiences to recreational cannabis use in the general population may hold some clues to the aetiological relationship between cannabis and psychotic symptoms. We hypothesized that schizotypy would account for the individual differences in subjective experiences after cannabis use but not in patterns of use.
In a sample of 532 young people who had used cannabis at least once, we examined the relationship between the Cannabis Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ) and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Additionally, we examined the psychometric properties of the CEQ.
We replicated our previously reported findings that schizotypy was associated with increased psychosis-like experiences and after-effects, but also found that high-scoring schizotypes reported more pleasurable experiences when smoking cannabis. Using new subscales derived from principal components analysis (PCA), we found that the psychosis-like items were most related to varying rates of schizotypy both during the immediate use of cannabis and in the after-effects of cannabis use. High-scoring schizotypes who used cannabis experienced more psychosis-like symptoms during and after use.
Our results suggest that cannabis use may reveal an underlying vulnerability to psychosis in those with high schizotypal traits.
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