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Hallucinatory experiences in a community sample of Japanese children.

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Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.



Hallucinatory experiences in children are often thought to indicate serious psychopathology. However, they have also been reported in normally developing children and in association with temporary psychological reactions to acute stress. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of hallucinatory experiences in a nonclinical population of children and to examine the relationship between the modality and content of hallucinations and psychopathology.


Seven hundred sixty-one Japanese children, 11 to 12 years old, completed a battery of four measures: (1) a questionnaire about the type of hallucinatory experience, (2) the Children's Depression Inventory, (3) the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children, and (4) the Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale.


Approximately 21% of the subjects had experienced hallucinations. Subjects who had experienced hallucinations, in particular, hallucinations characterized by combined modalities, closely self-related auditory content, or concrete visual content, had more significant psychopathology than did those who had never experienced hallucinations.


Therapeutic intervention should be considered for children who experience hallucinations in association with depression, anxiety, or dissociation.

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