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Psychotic experiences predict adverse health outcomes, particularly if they are persistent. However, it is unclear what distinguishes persistent from transient psychotic experiences.
In a large population-based cohort, we aimed to (a) describe the course of hallucinatory experiences from childhood to adolescence, (b) compare characteristics of youth with persistent and remittent hallucinatory experiences, and (c) examine prediction models for persistence.
Youth were assessed longitudinally for hallucinatory experiences at mean ages of 10 and 14 years (n = 3473). Multi-informant-rated mental health problems, stressful life events, self-esteem, non-verbal IQ and parental psychopathology were examined in relation to absent, persistent, remittent and incident hallucinatory experiences. We evaluated two prediction models for persistence with logistic regression and assessed discrimination using the area under the curve (AUC).
The persistence rate of hallucinatory experiences was 20.5%. Adolescents with persistent hallucinatory experiences had higher baseline levels of hallucinatory experiences, emotional and behavioural problems, as well as lower self-esteem and non-verbal IQ scores than youth with remittent hallucinatory experiences. Although the prediction model for persistence versus absence of hallucinatory experiences demonstrated excellent discriminatory power (AUC-corrected = 0.80), the prediction model for persistence versus remittance demonstrated poor accuracy (AUC-corrected = 0.61).
This study provides support for the dynamic expression of childhood hallucinatory experiences and suggests increased neurodevelopmental vulnerability in youth with persistent hallucinatory experiences. Despite the inclusion of a wide array of psychosocial parameters, a prediction model discriminated poorly between youth with persistent versus remittent hallucinatory experiences, confirming that persistent hallucinatory experiences are a complex multifactorial trait.
In a large and comprehensively assessed sample of patients with bipolar disorder type I (BDI), we investigated the prevalence of psychotic features and their relationship with life course, demographic, clinical, and cognitive characteristics. We hypothesized that groups of psychotic symptoms (Schneiderian, mood incongruent, thought disorder, delusions, and hallucinations) have distinct relations to risk factors.
In a cross-sectional study of 1342 BDI patients, comprehensive demographical and clinical characteristics were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) interview. In addition, levels of childhood maltreatment and intelligence quotient (IQ) were assessed. The relationships between these characteristics and psychotic symptoms were analyzed using multiple general linear models.
A lifetime history of psychotic symptoms was present in 73.8% of BDI patients and included delusions in 68.9% of patients and hallucinations in 42.6%. Patients with psychotic symptoms showed a significant younger age of disease onset (β = −0.09, t = −3.38, p = 0.001) and a higher number of hospitalizations for manic episodes (F11 338 = 56.53, p < 0.001). Total IQ was comparable between groups. Patients with hallucinations had significant higher levels of childhood maltreatment (β = 0.09, t = 3.04, p = 0.002).
In this large cohort of BDI patients, the vast majority of patients had experienced psychotic symptoms. Psychotic symptoms in BDI were associated with an earlier disease onset and more frequent hospitalizations particularly for manic episodes. The study emphasizes the strength of the relation between childhood maltreatment and hallucinations but did not identify distinct subgroups based on psychotic features and instead reported of a large heterogeneity of psychotic symptoms in BD.
Stressful life events are established as risk factors for the onset of mood disorders, but few studies have investigated their impact on the development of mood disorders in adolescents.
To study the effect of life events on the development of mood disorders in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder, with respect to the possibility of a decay effect and modification by familial loading.
In a high-risk cohort of 140 Dutch adolescent offspring of parents with bipolar disorder, we assessed life events, current and past DSM–IV diagnoses and familial loading. To explore their interaction and impact on mood disorder onset, we constructed four different models and used a multivariate survival analysis with time-dependent covariates.
The relationship between life events and mood disorder was described optimally with a model in which the effects of life events gradually decayed by 25% per year. The effect of life event load was not significantly stronger in the case of high familial loading.
Independent of familial loading, life events increase the liability to mood disorders in children of patients with bipolar disorder but the effects slowly diminish with time.
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