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Schizophr Res. 2009 Feb;107(2-3):179-85. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2008.11.002. Epub 2008 Nov 29.

The prevalence and correlates of hallucinations in Australian adolescents: results from a national survey.

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  • 1Child & Youth Mental Health Service, Royal Children's Hospital, Herston, Qld, 4029, Australia.


There is an emerging interest in children and adolescents who have hallucinations and other psychotic-like experiences to enable identification of those potentially at risk for schizophrenia in adulthood. This study examines the prevalence, demographic and clinical correlates of hallucinations in the adolescent subgroup of the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Participants were a nationally representative sample of 1261 adolescents aged 13-17 years. Adolescents completed self-report questionnaires with two questions relating to hallucinations and questions pertaining to depressive symptoms and cannabis use. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC-IV). Hallucinations were reported by 8.4% of adolescents. Those living in blended or sole parent families were more likely to report hallucinations than those living with both biological parents (OR 3.27; 95% CI 1.93, 5.54; OR 2.60; 95% CI 1.63, 4.13 respectively). Hallucinations were more prevalent in adolescents who scored in the highest decile of the CBCL or had elevated depression symptoms (OR 3.30; 95% CI 2.10, 5.20; OR 5.02; 95% CI 3.38, 7.45 respectively). Hallucinations were associated with depressive disorder (OR 2.70; 95% CI 1.16, 6.28) and were more prevalent in those adolescents who had smoked cannabis more than twice in the month prior to the survey (OR 3.27; 95% CI 1.76, 6.08). Hallucinations occur relatively frequently in adolescents and are associated with a range of demographic and clinical correlates. Further research may assist in understanding the variable trajectory of children and adolescents who hallucinate.

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