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Studies in the general population report that unusual subjective experiences are relatively common. Such experiences have been conceptualized either as extreme personality traits or as vulnerability markers for psychosis, and often grouped under the expression “schizotypal experiences”. This study investigates the heterogeneity of schizotypal traits using factor and latent class analysis.
One thousand and thirty-two adolescents were recruited for this study. Schizotypal experiences were assessed with the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE); psychological distress was assessed with the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ). Confirmatory Factorial Analysis (CFA) and Latent Class Analysis (LCA) were performed on the O-LIFE and on the association with the GHQ and demographic variables.
CFA replicated the original 4-factor structure of the O-LIFE. Three latent classes (LC) of schizotypal features were identified: participants in LC1 (26% of the total sample) showed minimal level of item endorsement; LC2 accounted for 52% of the sample and showed overall higher item endorsement compared to LC1, especially for disorganization and positive signs of schizotypy, but not for negative affective items. LC3 (22%) showed an overall higher level of item endorsement across schizotypal dimensions, and positive association with psychological distress and family history of psychosis.
Different latent class of schizotypal features can be empirically defined in adolescent community samples. The most extreme class is defined not only by a profile of higher positive replies to the items, but also by anhedonia, high psychological distress, and family history of psychosis. These findings can inform prevention research in schizophrenia.
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