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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009 Mar;50(3):326-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01961.x. Epub 2008 Oct 23.

Cognitive and emotional associations to positive schizotypy during adolescence.

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  • 1Service Médico-Pédagogique Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Geneva School of Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland. martin.debbane@medecine.unige.ch

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Sub-clinical symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations and delusions, known as positive schizotypy, constitute one of the strongest predictive factors for adult psychotic disorders. Recent cognitive models suggest that the expression of positive schizotypy is associated with depression, anxiety, metacognitive beliefs and self-monitoring deficits. In this study, we present empirical data on the relationships positive schizotypy hold with both emotional and cognitive factors.

METHODS:

A sample of 163 adolescents (77 females) participated in this study (mean age 15.3, 12-18 years). Subjects filled out self-report questionnaires assessing the emotional dimensions of depression and anxiety, as well as metacognitive beliefs. Self-monitoring skills were assessed using an action monitoring paradigm sensitive to dysfunctions associated with psychosis-proneness. Multivariate regression models were employed to examine emotional and cognitive contributions to positive schizotypy during adolescence.

RESULTS:

Analyses revealed that dimensions of depression, anxiety, and metacognitive beliefs significantly correlated with the expression of positive schizotypy. When accounting for the effects of depression and metacognitive beliefs in adolescents reporting hallucinations, self-monitoring dysfunctions seemed to represent a significant factor in the expression of positive schizotypy.

CONCLUSION:

The present results suggest that the expression of positive schizotypy during adolescence is modulated by emotional factors of depression and anxiety, as well as metacognitive beliefs and self-monitoring dysfunctions. The current data lend some evidence that supports the cognitive-developmental account of positive symptom formation before the onset of a psychotic disorder.

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