Deakin University

File(s) under permanent embargo

Psychotic-like experiences in a community sample of adolescents: implications for the continuum model of psychosis and prediction of schizophrenia

journal contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Alison YungAlison Yung, B Nelson, K Baker, J Buckby, Gennady Baksheev, E Cosgrave
Studies conducted in community samples suggest that psychotic-like experiences are common in the general population, leading to suggestions that they are either variations of normal personality or are different expressions of underlying vulnerability to psychotic disorder. Different types of psychotic symptoms may exist, some being normal variants and some having implications for mental health and functioning. The aim of the present study was to determine if different subtypes of psychotic-like experiences could be identified in a community sample of adolescents and to investigate if particular subtypes were more likely to be associated with psychosocial difficulties, that is, distress, depression and poor functioning, than other subtypes. Eight hundred and seventy-five Year 10 students from 34 schools participated in a cross-sectional survey that measured psychotic-like experiences using the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences; depression using the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; and psychosocial functioning using the Revised Multidimensional Assessment of Functioning Scale. Factor analysis was conducted to identify any subtypes of psychotic experiences. Four subtypes of psychotic-like experiences were identified: Bizarre Experiences, Perceptual Abnormalities, Persecutory Ideas, and Magical Thinking. Intermittent, infrequent psychotic experiences were common, but frequent experiences were not. Bizarre Experiences, Perceptual Abnormalities and Persecutory Ideas were strongly associated with distress, depression and poor functioning. Magical Thinking was only weakly associated with these variables. Overall these findings may suggest that infrequent psychotic-like experiences are unlikely to be a specific risk factor for onset of a psychotic disorder in community samples. Given that the different subtypes had varying associations with current difficulties it is suggested that not all subtypes confer the same risk for onset of psychotic disorder and poor outcome. Bizarre Experiences, Perceptual Abnormalities and Persecutory Ideas may represent expressions of underlying vulnerability to psychotic disorder, but Magical Thinking may be a normal personality variant.



Australian & New Zealand journal of psychiatry






118 - 128




London, Eng.





Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2009, Sage Publications