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Early Interv Psychiatry. 2012 Aug;6(3):300-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7893.2011.00303.x. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Psychotic experience subtypes, poor mental health status and help-seeking behaviour in a community sample of young adults.

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Department of Child and Adolescence Psychiatry, Research Hospital IRCCS Bambino Gesù, Italy.



Different subtypes of psychotic experiences (PEs) have been identified in clinical and non-clinical samples. Researchers have considered these PEs to either be variations of personality or expressions of vulnerability to psychotic disorder. This study aimed to determine which particular subtypes of PEs were more likely to be associated with poor mental health status and help-seeking behaviour in a non-clinical sample of young adults.


The study was conducted on a community sample of 997 young adults. The prevalence of PEs and distress was measured using the community assessment of psychic experiences (CAPE), depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured using Beck depression inventory-II and Beck anxiety inventory, and general functioning was measured using the general health questionnaire-12. Factorial analysis of the CAPE positive dimension was conducted and correlations between factors and clinical variables were analysed.


Four PE subtypes were identified: perceptual abnormalities, persecutory ideas (PI), bizarre experiences, and magical thinking. At least one high frequency PI was endorsed by 60.8% (n = 606) of the sample and proved to be significantly associated both with poor mental health status and help-seeking behaviour.


PEs subtypes are differentially associated with various markers of poor mental health status. PI seem to have stronger psychopathological significance than other subtypes of PEs. Further longitudinal studies are required to extend these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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