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Despite a large body of research on planning performance in adult schizophrenia patients, results of individual studies are equivocal, suggesting either no, moderate or severe planning deficits. This meta-analysis therefore aimed to quantify planning deficits in schizophrenia and to examine potential sources of the heterogeneity seen in the literature.
The meta-analysis comprised outcomes of planning accuracy of 1377 schizophrenia patients and 1477 healthy controls from 31 different studies which assessed planning performance using tower tasks such as the Tower of London, the Tower of Hanoi and the Stockings of Cambridge. A meta-regression analysis was applied to assess the influence of potential moderator variables (i.e. sociodemographic and clinical variables as well as task difficulty).
The findings indeed demonstrated a planning deficit in schizophrenia patients (mean effect size:
$\hat \mu \; = 0.67$
; 95% confidence interval 0.56–0.78) that was moderated by task difficulty in terms of the minimum number of moves required for a solution. The results did not reveal any significant relationship between the extent of planning deficits and sociodemographic or clinical variables.
The current results provide first meta-analytic evidence for the commonly assumed impairments of planning performance in schizophrenia. Deficits are more likely to become manifest in problem items with higher demands on planning ahead, which may at least partly explain the heterogeneity of previous findings. As only a small fraction of studies reported coherent information on sample characteristics, future meta-analyses would benefit from more systematic reports on those variables.
It has been suggested that the structure of psychopathology is best described as a complex network of components that interact in dynamic ways. The goal of the present paper was to examine the concept of psychopathology from a network perspective, combining complementary top-down and bottom-up approaches using momentary assessment techniques.
A pooled Experience Sampling Method (ESM) dataset of three groups (individuals with a diagnosis of depression, psychotic disorder or no diagnosis) was used (pooled N = 599). The top-down approach explored the network structure of mental states across different diagnostic categories. For this purpose, networks of five momentary mental states (‘cheerful’, ‘content’, ‘down’, ‘insecure’ and ‘suspicious’) were compared between the three groups. The complementary bottom-up approach used principal component analysis to explore whether empirically derived network structures yield meaningful higher order clusters.
Individuals with a clinical diagnosis had more strongly connected moment-to-moment network structures, especially the depressed group. This group also showed more interconnections specifically between positive and negative mental states than the psychotic group. In the bottom-up approach, all possible connections between mental states were clustered into seven main components that together captured the main characteristics of the network dynamics.
Our combination of (i) comparing network structure of mental states across three diagnostically different groups and (ii) searching for trans-diagnostic network components across all pooled individuals showed that these two approaches yield different, complementary perspectives in the field of psychopathology. The network paradigm therefore may be useful to map transdiagnostic processes.
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.
The association between childhood trauma and psychotic and depressive symptomatology is well established. However, less is known about the specificity and course of these symptoms in relation to childhood trauma.
In a large sample (n = 2765) of patients with psychosis (n = 1119), their siblings (n = 1057) and controls (n = 589), multivariate (mixed-effects) regression analyses with multiple outcomes were performed to examine the association between childhood trauma and psychotic and depressive symptomatology over a 3-year period.
A dose–response relationship was found between childhood trauma and psychosis. Abuse was more strongly associated with positive symptoms than with negative symptoms whereas the strength of the associations between neglect and positive and negative symptoms was comparable. In patients, similar associations between childhood trauma and psychotic or depressive symptoms were found, and in siblings and controls, stronger associations were found between trauma and depressive symptomatology. Childhood trauma was not related to a differential course of symptoms over a 3-year time period.
In congruence with earlier work, our findings suggest that childhood trauma, and abuse in particular, is associated with (subthreshold) psychosis. However, childhood trauma does not seem to be associated with a differential course of symptoms, nor does it uniquely heighten the chance of developing (subthreshold) psychotic symptomatology. Our results indicate that trauma may instead contribute to a shared vulnerability for psychotic and depressive symptoms.
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