Prevalence of Psychotic-Like Experiences and Associated Distress in Adolescent Community, Sexual-Trauma and Clinical Samples

Emma Nolan, Siobhan Murphy, Tara O'Neill, James Houston, Jamie Murphy, Mark Shevlin

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The current study sought to assess and compare the frequency of psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) and the associated levels of distress across three groups (adolescent community, sexual-trauma survivors, and a clinical group of participants with serious mental health problems). Participants completed a revised version of the adolescent psychotic-like symptom screener (APSS) that was adapted to include ratings of the degree of distress associated with each PLE. Results showed that the adolescent community sample was less likely to report PLEs and found them less distressing compared to the sexual-trauma survivors and clinical sample. Sexual-trauma survivors reported more frequent PLEs and found them more distressing than the adolescent community sample. The clinical sample consistently reported more PLEs than both the adolescent community and sexual-trauma sample, and was more likely to report PLEs as very distressing. The most distressing PLEs for the adolescent community sample was paranoia, for the sexual-trauma and clinical sample they were paranoia and auditory hallucinations. These results provide support for the cognitive approach to psychosis, add further support to the hypothesis of a psychosis continuum, and perhaps indirectly, provide evidence for a continuum of distress that maps onto an inferred continuum of risk.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalPsychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches
Early online date25 Sep 2018
Publication statusEarly online date - 25 Sep 2018


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