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    Genetic and environmental influences on the stability of psychotic experiences and negative symptoms in adolescence

    Havers, Laura and Taylor, M. and Ronald, Angelica (2019) Genetic and environmental influences on the stability of psychotic experiences and negative symptoms in adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 60 (7), pp. 784-792. ISSN 0021-9630.

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    Background: Psychotic experiences (PEs) such as paranoia and hallucinations, and negative symptoms (NS) such as anhedonia and flat affect, are common in adolescence. PENS increase risk for later psychiatric outcomes, particularly when they persist. The extent to which genetic and environmental influences contribute to the stability of PENS in mid to late adolescence is unknown. Methods: Using the Specific Psychotic Experiences Questionnaire (SPEQ) twice across ~9 months in adolescence, N = 1,448 twin pairs (M = 16.32 (0.68)) reported experiences of paranoia, hallucinations, cognitive disorganisation, grandiosity, and anhedonia, and their parents reported on a range of NS. Individuals were split into lowscoring, decreasing, increasing, and persistent groups for each subscale. Frequencies and mean differences in distress, depression traits, and emotional problems were investigated across groups. Longitudinal structural equation modelling was used to estimate the etiological components underlying the stability of PENS. Results: Phenotypic stability was moderate for all PENS ( r = .59-.69). Persistent PENS across 9 months were associated with greater levels of distress (V = 0.15-0.46, for PEs only), depression traits ( d = 0.47-1.67, except grandiosity), and emotional problems ( d = 0.47-1.47, except grandiosity and anhedonia) at baseline compared to groups with transitory or low levels of PENS. At both ages PENS were heritable and influenced by shared and nonshared environment. Genetic influences contributed 38%-62%, and shared environment contributed 13%-33% to the stability of PENS. Nonshared environment contributed 34%-41% (12% for parent-rated NS). There was strong overlap of genetic and shared environmental influences across time, and lower overlap for nonshared environment. Imperfect stability of PENS was at least partly due to non-shared environmental influences. Conclusions: When adolescent PENS persist over time, they are often characterised by more distress, and higher levels of other psychopathology. Both genetic and environmental effects influence stability of PENS.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at the link above. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Adolescence, etiology, development, mental health, psychosis. Abbreviations: PEs, NS, PENS, SPEQ
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Angelica Ronald
    Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2019 16:03
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:48


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