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Self-reported psychotic experiences (SRPE) by individuals from the general population are often unconfirmed by clinical interview and referred to as ‘false-positive’ (FP) SRPE. FP SRPE have been suggested to represent the mildest form of risk along the extended psychosis continuum. However, little is known about their (clinical) outcome and evolution over time. Aims of this study were to prospectively examine, in individuals with FP SRPE, (1) the prevalence of remission, persistence and transition to validated PE at 3-year follow-up; (2) potential baseline psychopathological and psychosocial predictors of persistence of FP SRPE and transition to validated PE; and (3) whether those with persistent FP SRPE and validated PE already differed on psychopathology and psychosocial factors at baseline. We tested the hypotheses that (i) individuals with FP SRPE would be more likely to have SRPE and validated PE at follow-up; and (ii) that FP SRPE would be predictive of lower functioning and more psychopathology and help-seeking behaviour at follow-up.
Baseline (n = 6646) and 3-year follow-up (n = 5303) data of the second the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS-2), a general population research project on prevalence, incidence, course and consequences of psychiatric disorders was used. Self-report of PE was followed by clinical interview to determine clinical validity. The presence of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders, childhood adversity, help-seeking and functioning as well as PE characteristics (number, frequency, distress and impact) were used in the analyses which included only individuals with complete data for both assessments waves (n = 4683).
At baseline, 454 participants had any FP SRPE; of these 372 participants had complete follow-up data available. Those with baseline FP SRPE were significantly more likely to report SRPE (OR = 3.58; 95% CI 2.38–5.40, p < 0.001) and validated PE (OR = 6.26; 95% CI 3.91–10.02, p < 0.001) at follow-up. Baseline FP SRPE also predicted the presence of mood and anxiety disorders, reduced functioning and help-seeking at follow-up. Several baseline psychopathological, psychosocial and PE characteristics were predictive for the persistence of SRPE. These factors also differentiated groups with FP SRPE or validated PE from those with remitted FP SRPE at follow-up.
‘FP SRPE’ are not truly ‘false’ as they index risk for the development of clinically relevant psychotic symptoms, development of mood and anxiety disorders and reduced functioning. Self-reported PE, even unconfirmed, warrant ‘watchful waiting’ and follow-up over time, especially when they are reported by individuals with reduced psychosocial functioning and general psychiatric problems.
The vulnerability hypothesis suggests that impairments after remission of depressive episodes reflect a pre-existing vulnerability, while the scar hypothesis proposes that depression leaves residual impairments that confer risk of subsequent episodes. We prospectively examined vulnerability and scar effects in mental and physical functioning in a representative Dutch population sample.
Three waves were used from the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2, a population-based study with a 6-years follow-up. Mental and physical functioning were assessed with the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (SF-36). Major depressive disorder (MDD) was assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview 3.0. Vulnerability effects were examined by comparing healthy controls (n = 2826) with individuals who developed a first-onset depressive episode during first follow-up but did not have a lifetime diagnosis of MDD at baseline (n = 181). Scarring effects were examined by comparing pre- and post-morbid functioning in individuals who developed a depressive episode after baseline that was remitted at the third wave (n = 108).
Both mental (B = −5.4, s.e. = 0.9, p < 0.001) and physical functioning (B = −8.2, s.e. = 1.1, p < 0.001) at baseline were lower in individuals who developed a first depressive episode after baseline compared with healthy controls. This effect was most pronounced in people who developed a severe episode. No firm evidence of scarring in mental or physical functioning was found. In unadjusted analyses, physical functioning was still lowered post-morbidly (B = −5.1, s.e. = 2.1, p = 0.014), but this effect disappeared in adjusted analyses.
Functional impairments after remission of depression seem to reflect a pre-existing vulnerability rather than a scar.
Meta-analyses link childhood trauma to depression, mania, anxiety disorders, and psychosis. It is unclear, however, whether these outcomes truly represent distinct disorders following childhood trauma, or that childhood trauma is associated with admixtures of affective, psychotic, anxiety and manic psychopathology throughout life.
We used data from a representative general population sample (NEMESIS-2, n = 6646), of whom respectively 1577 and 1120 had a lifetime diagnosis of mood or anxiety disorder, as well as from a sample of patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (GROUP, n = 825). Multinomial logistic regression was used to assess whether childhood trauma was more strongly associated with isolated affective/psychotic/anxiety/manic symptoms than with their admixture.
In NEMESIS-2, largely comparable associations were found between childhood trauma and depression, mania, anxiety and psychosis. However, childhood trauma was considerably more strongly associated with their lifetime admixture. These results were confirmed in the patient samples, in which it was consistently found that patients with a history of childhood trauma were more likely to have a combination of multiple symptom domains compared to their non-traumatized counterparts. This pattern was also found in exposed individuals who did not meet criteria for a psychotic, affective or anxiety disorder and who did not seek help for subclinical psychopathology.
Childhood trauma increases the likelihood of a specific admixture of affective, anxiety and psychotic symptoms cutting across traditional diagnostic boundaries, and this admixture may already be present in the earliest stages of psychopathology. These findings may have significant aetiological, pathophysiological, diagnostic and clinical repercussions.
Few studies have been published on the association between mental disorders and violence based on general population studies. Here we focus on different types of violence, adjusting for violent victimization and taking account of the limitations of previous population studies.
Data were used from the first two waves of the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study-2 (NEMESIS-2), a nationally representative face-to-face survey of the general population aged 18–64 years (n = 6646). Violence was differentiated into physical and psychological violence against intimate partner(s), children or any person(s) in general. DSM-IV diagnoses were assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Version 3.0 (CIDI 3.0).
Psychological violence occurs considerably more frequently than physical violence, but both showed almost identical associations with mental disorders. After adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, most of the main categories of common mental disorders were associated with violence. The strongest associations were found for externalizing disorders (substance use, impulse-control, antisocial personality disorder). After additional adjustment for violent victimization, negative life events and social support, most diagnostic correlates lost their significance whereas substance use (in particular alcohol) disorders were still associated with most types of violence.
The increased risk of violent offending among people with common mental disorders, other than substance use disorders, can be attributed to factors other than their mental illness.
Ethnic minority position is associated with increased risk for psychotic outcomes, which may be mediated by experiences of social exclusion, defeat and discrimination. Sexual minorities are subject to similar stressors. The aim of this study is to examine whether sexual minorities are at increased risk for psychotic symptoms and to explore mediating pathways.
A cross-sectional survey was performed assessing cumulative incidence of psychotic symptoms with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview in two separate random general population samples (NEMESIS-1 and NEMESIS-2). Participants were sexually active and aged 18–64 years (n = 5927, n = 5308). Being lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) was defined as having sexual relations with at least one same-sex partner during the past year. Lifetime experience of any psychotic symptom was analysed using logistic regression, adjusted for gender, educational level, urbanicity, foreign-born parents, living without a partner, cannabis use and other drug use.
The rate of any psychotic symptom was elevated in the LGB population as compared with the heterosexual population both in NEMESIS-1 [odds ratio (OR) 2.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.71–3.84] and NEMESIS-2 (OR 2.30, 95% CI 1.42–3.71). Childhood trauma, bullying and experience of discrimination partly mediated the association.
The finding that LGB orientation is associated with psychotic symptoms adds to the growing body of literature linking minority status with psychosis and other mental health problems, and suggests that exposure to minority stress represents an important mechanism.
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