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Schizotypy is a multidimensional construct that is linked to the vulnerability for psychosis. Positive schizotypy includes having paranormal beliefs. Negative schizotypy includes social anhedonia. Disorganized schizotypy includes social anxiety and communication disorder. Schizotypy relates to depression and aggression. Family stress from high expressed emotion (EE; a rating of criticism, hostility, and emotional overinvolvement in a close relative toward a person showing signs of mental disorder) may mediate the link between schizotypy, depression and aggression. This study tested, using path analyses, the hypotheses that schizotypy predicts depression and aggression through high perceived EE as criticism and irritability (hypothesis 1) and praise and intrusiveness in a close relative (hypothesis 2).
One hundred and four healthy participants listened to and rated the self-relevance of standard criticism and standard praise that denote EE. Participants rated their level of schizotypy, depression, aggression, and perceived EE in self-report questionnaires. Two path models tested the hypotheses.
Disorganized schizotypy, more than positive schizotypy, predicted the path to depression and aggression when perceived criticism and perceived EE-irritability were mediators. Disorganised schizotypy, more than negative schizotypy, predicted the path to depression and aggression when perceived praise and perceived EE-intrusiveness were mediators.
Greater perceived criticism and less perceived praise in family communication explain the path from disorganized schizotypy (more so than positive or negative schizotypy) to depression and aggression. These findings indicate a need to consider the thought disorder-EE link as a potential contributor to depression and aggression in people with schizophrenia.
While it is known that patients with schizophrenia recognize facial emotions, specifically negative emotions, less accurately, little is known about how they misattribute these emotions to other emotions and whether such misattribution biases are associated with symptoms, course of the disorder, or certain cognitive functions.
Outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (n = 73) and healthy controls (n = 30) performed a computerised Facial Emotion Attribution Test and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Patients were also rated on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
Patients were poor at recognizing fearful and angry emotions and attributed fear to angry and angry to neutral expressions. Fear-as-anger misattributions were predicted independently by a longer duration of illness and WCST perseverative errors.
The findings show a bias towards misattributing fearful and angry facial emotions. The propensity for fear-as-anger misattribution biases increases as the length of time that the disorder is experienced increases and a more rigid style of information processing is used. This, at least in part, may be perpetuated by subtle fearfulness expressed by others while interacting with people with schizophrenia.
Schizotypy represents a cluster of personality traits consisting of magical beliefs, perceptual aberrations, disorganisation, and anhedonia. Schizotypy denotes a vulnerability for psychosis, one reason being psychosocial stress. High expressed emotion (EE), a rating of high criticism, hostility, and emotional over-involvement from a close relative, denotes psychosocial stress and vulnerability to psychosis, and is associated with schizotypy. This study aimed to decipher the relationship of schizotypy to perceived criticism and perceived praise in terms of affect and perceived EE.
Ninety-eight healthy participants listened to short audio-clips containing criticism, praise, and neutral comments from a stranger, and evaluated them in terms of the comments’ arousal and personal relevance. Participants also answered self-report questionnaires of schizotypy, depression, mood, and perceived EE. Correlational analyses tested the relationship between schizotypy and the evaluations of criticism and praise. Mediation analyses then tested whether depression, positive mood, and perceived EE explained these relationships.
Greater relevance of standard criticism correlated with higher positive schizotypy. This association was fully mediated by high depression and perceived irritability from a close relative. Lower relevance of standard praise correlated with higher cognitive disorganisation (another schizotypal trait). This relationship was partially mediated by low positive mood and high perceived intrusiveness from a close relative.
Greater perceived criticism and lower perceived praise predict schizotypy in the healthy population. Affect and interpersonal sensitivity towards a close relative explain these relationships, such that depression increases perceived criticism, and positive mood increases perceived praise. Perceived EE defines the interpersonal nature of schizotypy.
Early intervention services for psychosis aim to detect emergent symptoms, reduce the duration of untreated psychosis, and improve access to effective treatments.
To evaluate the effectiveness of early intervention services, cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) and family intervention in early psychosis.
Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of early intervention services, CBT and family intervention for people with early psychosis.
Early intervention services reduced hospital admission, relapse rates and symptom severity, and improved access to and engagement with treatment. Used alone, family intervention reduced relapse and hospital admission rates, whereas CBT reduced the severity of symptoms with little impact on relapse or hospital admission.
For people with early psychosis, early intervention services appear to have clinically important benefits over standard care. Including CBT and family intervention within the service may contribute to improved outcomes in this critical period. The longer-term benefits of this approach and its component treatments for people with early and established psychosis need further research.
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