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The prevalence of psychotic experiences (PEs) is higher in low-and-middle-income-countries (LAMIC) than in high-income countries (HIC). Here, we examine whether this effect is explicable by measurement bias.
A community sample from 13 countries (N = 7141) was used to examine the measurement invariance (MI) of a frequently used self-report measure of PEs, the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE), in LAMIC (n = 2472) and HIC (n = 4669). The CAPE measures positive (e.g. hallucinations), negative (e.g. avolition) and depressive symptoms. MI analyses were conducted with multiple-group confirmatory factor analyses.
MI analyses showed similarities in the structure and understanding of the CAPE factors between LAMIC and HIC. Partial scalar invariance was found, allowing for latent score comparisons. Residual invariance was not found, indicating that sum score comparisons are biased. A comparison of latent scores before and after MI adjustment showed both overestimation (e.g. avolition, d = 0.03 into d = −0.42) and underestimation (e.g. magical thinking, d = −0.03 into d = 0.33) of PE in LAMIC relative to HIC. After adjusting the CAPE for MI, participants from LAMIC reported significantly higher levels on most CAPE factors but a significantly lower level of avolition.
Previous studies using sum scores to compare differences across countries are likely to be biased. The direction of the bias involves both over- and underestimation of PEs in LAMIC compared to HIC. Nevertheless, the study confirms the basic finding that PEs are more frequent in LAMIC than in HIC.
In a baseline study among 7- and 8-year-old children with auditory vocal hallucinations, only limited functional impact was observed.
To assess 5-year course and predictors of auditory vocal hallucinations, as well as 5-year incidence and its risk factors.
A sample of 337 children, 12 and 13 years of age, were reassessed on auditory vocal hallucinations and associated symptoms after a mean follow-up period of 5.1 years.
The 5-year persistence and incidence rates were 24% and 9% respectively, with more new cases arising in urban areas. Both persistent and incident auditory vocal hallucinations were associated with problem behaviour in the clinical range of psychopathology as measured with the Child Behavior Checklist, particularly at follow-up, as well as with other psychotic symptoms, particularly at baseline. Persistence was predicted by baseline auditory vocal hallucinations severity, particularly in terms of external attribution of voices and hearing multiple voices, and was associated with worse primary school test scores and lower secondary school level.
First onset of auditory vocal hallucinations in middle childhood is not uncommon and is associated with psychopathological and behavioural comorbidity. Similarly, persistence of auditory vocal hallucinations in childhood is not uncommon and is associated with psychopathological, behavioural and cognitive alterations.
Hearing voices occurs in middle childhood, but little is known about prevalence, aetiology and immediate consequences.
To investigate prevalence, developmental risk factors and behavioural correlates of auditory vocal hallucinations in 7- and 8-year-olds.
Auditory vocal hallucinations were assessed with the Auditory Vocal Hallucination Rating Scale in 3870 children. Prospectively recorded data on pre- and perinatal complications, early development and current problem behaviour were analysed in children with auditory vocal hallucinations and matched controls.
The 1-year prevalence of auditory vocal hallucinations was 9%, with substantial suffering and problem behaviour reported in 15% of those affected. Prevalence was higher in rural areas but auditory vocal hallucinations were more severe and had greater functional impact in the urban environment. There was little evidence for associations with developmental variables.
Auditory vocal hallucinations in 7- and 8-year-olds are prevalent but mostly of limited functional impact. Nevertheless, there may be continuity with more severe psychotic outcomes given the serious suffering in a subgroup of children and there is evidence for a poorer prognosis in an urban environment.
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