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J Psychiatr Res. 2018 Sep;104:32-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.06.011. Epub 2018 Jun 12.

Protective factors for psychotic experiences amongst adolescents exposed to multiple forms of victimization.

Author information

1
King's College London, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, London, UK.
2
King's College London, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, London, UK; Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.
3
King's College London, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, London, UK; King's College London, Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, London, UK; National & Specialist CAMHS Trauma and Anxiety Clinic, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
5
King's College London, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, London, UK. Electronic address: helen.2.fisher@kcl.ac.uk.

Abstract

Experiencing multiple types of victimization (poly-victimization) during adolescence is associated with the onset of psychotic experiences (such as hearing voices, having visions, or being extremely paranoid). However, many poly-victimized adolescents will not develop such subclinical phenomena and the factors that protect them are unknown. This study investigated whether individual, family, or community-level characteristics were associated with an absence of psychotic experiences amongst poly-victimized adolescents. Participants were from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally-representative cohort of 2232 UK-born twins. Exposure to seven different types of victimization between ages 12-18 was ascertained using a modified version of the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire at age 18. Adolescents were also interviewed about psychotic experiences at age 18. Protective factors were measured at ages 12 and 18. We found that exposure to poly-victimization during adolescence was associated with age-18 psychotic experiences (OR = 4.62, 95% CI 3.59-5.94, P < 0.001), but more than a third of the poly-victimized adolescents reported having no psychotic experiences (40.1%). Greater social support was found to be protective against adolescent psychotic experiences even amongst those exposed to poly-victimization. Engaging in physical activity and greater neighborhood social cohesion were also associated with a reduced likelihood of age-18 psychotic experiences in the whole sample, with non-significant trends in the poly-victimized group. Increasing social support and promoting physical activity appear to be important areas for future research into the development of preventive interventions targeting adolescent psychotic experiences. This adds further weight to calls to increase the promotion of these factors on a public health scale.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescence; Exercise; Poly-victimization; Psychosis; Resilience; Social support

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