Early childhood psychotic experiences predict mental disorders in preadolescence

20 Sep 2022
Early childhood psychotic experiences predict mental disorders in preadolescence

Psychotic experiences in early childhood are associated with mental disorders during middle childhood, according to a recent study.

“Psychotic experiences index vulnerability for psychopathology nondifferentially in children at familial high risk (FHR) and the control group,” the investigators said.

In this longitudinal population-based cohort study, the investigators examined children at FHR of schizophrenia (FHR-SZ), bipolar disorder (FHR-BP), and the control group for psychotic experiences and axis I disorders with face-to-face interviews in early and middle childhood (at age 7 and 11 years).

Children at FHR-SZ were more likely to have psychotic experiences than those in the control group (31.8 percent vs 18.4 percent; odds ratio [OR], 2.1, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.3‒3.4) in middle childhood.

After adjusting for early childhood disorders and familial risk, psychotic experiences in early childhood were found to predict mental disorders in middle childhood (OR, 2.0, 95 percent CI, 1.2‒3.1). Those with three or more psychotic experiences had the highest likelihood of developing such disorders (OR, 2.5, 95 percent CI, 1.1‒5.7).

Persistent psychotic experiences correlated with increased probabilities of middle childhood disorders (OR, 4.1, 95 percent CI, 2.1‒8.4). Of note, psychotic experiences were nondifferentially associated with mental disorders across the three familial risk groups.

“Psychotic experiences should be included in mental health screenings including children at FHR,” the investigators said.

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