Risk and protective factors for psychotic experiences in adolescence: a population-based study

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McMahon, Elaine M.
Corcoran, Paul
Keeley, Helen
Clarke, Mary
Coughlan, Helen
Wasserman, Danuta
Hoven, Christina W.
Carli, Vladimir
Sarchiapone, Marco
Healy, Colm
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Cambridge University Press
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Background: Psychotic experiences (PEs) are reported by a significant minority of adolescents and are associated with the development of psychiatric disorders. The aims of this study were to examine associations between PEs and a range of factors including psychopathology, adversity and lifestyle, and to investigate mediating effects of coping style and parental support on associations between adversity and PEs in a general population adolescent sample. Method: Cross-sectional data were drawn from the Irish centre of the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe study. Students completed a self-report questionnaire and 973 adolescents, of whom 522 (53.6%) were boys, participated. PEs were assessed using the 7-item Adolescent Psychotic Symptom Screener. Results: Of the total sample, 81 (8.7%) of the sample were found to be at risk of PEs. In multivariate analysis, associations were found between PEs and number of adverse events reported (OR 4.48, CI 1.41–14.25; p < 0.011), maladaptive/pathological internet use (OR 2.70, CI 1.30–5.58; p = 0.007), alcohol intoxication (OR 2.12, CI 1.10–4.12; p = 0.025) and anxiety symptoms (OR 4.03, CI 1.57–10.33; p = 0.004). There were small mediating effects of parental supervision, parental support and maladaptive coping on associations between adversity and PEs. Conclusion: We have identified potential risk factors for PEs from multiple domains including adversity, mental health and lifestyle factors. The mediating effect of parental support on associations between adversity and PEs suggests that poor family relationships may account for some of this mechanism. These findings can inform the development of interventions for adolescents at risk.
Adolescent mental health , Childhood adversity , Protective factors , Psychosis
McMahon, E. M., Corcoran, P., Keeley, H., Clarke, M., Coughlan, H., Wasserman, D., Hoven, C. W., Carli, V., Sarchiapone, M., Healy, C. and Cannon, M. (2020) 'Risk and protective factors for psychotic experiences in adolescence: a population-based study', Psychological Medicine, doi: 10.1017/S0033291719004136
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© The Authors 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press. This article has been published in a revised form in Psychological Medicine https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291719004136 This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works.