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Schizophr Bull. 2018 Oct 17;44(6):1185-1194. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sby087.

Psychotic Experiences and Related Distress: A Cross-national Comparison and Network Analysis Based on 7141 Participants From 13 Countries.

Author information

Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Institute of Psychology, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
Psychosis Studies Research Group, Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia.
Department of Educational Sciences, University of La Rioja, La Rioja, Spain.
Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, Oviedo, Spain.
Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.
Univ. Bordeaux, U1219 Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, Bordeaux, France.
Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Institute, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Psychotic experiences (PEs) are common in the general population but do not necessarily reflect a risk status if they occur in relative isolation or are not distressing. Emerging evidence suggests that PEs might be experienced as more benign for individuals from collectivistic low- and middle-income countries (LAMIC) compared with individualistic high-income countries (HIC). The aim of this study was to determine whether: (1) self-reported PEs are less distressing in community samples from LAMIC than from HIC; (2) the network of PEs is significantly less connected in a sample from LAMIC than from HIC. Adults from 8 HIC (n = 4669) and 5 LAMIC (n = 2472) were compared. The lifetime frequency of PEs and related distress were assessed with the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences. We analyzed the associations of PEs with distress and country type. The interconnection of PEs was visualized by a network analysis and tested for differences in global connection strengths. The average endorsement rates of PEs were significantly higher in LAMIC than in HIC (χ2 = 1772.87, P < .01, Φcramer = 0.50). There was a universal positive correlation between higher frequency of PEs and more distress, but the distress levels controlled for frequency were significantly higher in HIC (R2 = 0.11; b = 0.26; SE = 0.01; T = 17.68; P < .001). Moreover, the network of PEs was significantly less connected in LAMIC (S = 0.40, P < .05). The findings indicate that PEs are of less clinical relevance in LAMIC compared with HIC. The universal use of current high-risk criteria might thus not be adequate without consideration of associated distress and cultural values.

[Available on 2019-10-01]

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