Affective dysfunctions in adolescents at risk for psychosis: Emotion awareness and social functioning

Sophie van Rijn*, Patricia Schothorst, Mascha van 't Wout, Mirjam Sprong, Tim Ziermans, Herman van Engeland, Andre Aleman, Hanna Swaab

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies of individuals at ultra high risk (UHR) for psychosis have revealed deviations in cognitive and neural development before the onset of psychosis. As affective impairments are among the core dysfunctions in psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, this study assessed emotion processing and the relationship with social competence in adolescents at risk for psychosis. Thirty-four adolescents at UHR for psychosis and twenty-three non-clinical controls completed the Bermond-Vorst Alexithymia Questionnaire, a measure of emotion awareness. Social inadequacy was measured using the Dutch Personality Questionnaire. Schizophrenia spectrum psychopathology was assessed using self-report and clinical instruments. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) was used to evaluate intellectual functioning. UHR adolescents showed difficulties in identifying and verbalizing their own emotions, independent of intelligence scores. Emotion awareness problems were related to social inadequacy and schizotypal traits in the high risk group. These findings suggest that UHR adolescents may have reduced emotion awareness, independent of intellectual functioning. The relationship with social inadequate behavior fits with the idea that emotion awareness is a prerequisite for the regulation of emotions in social contexts. In the search for early vulnerability markers of risk for psychosis, studying emotion processing besides cognitive abilities might increase our understanding of 'at risk' developmental pathways. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume187
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15-May-2011

Keywords

  • Alexithymia
  • Emotion
  • Schizotypy
  • Adolescents
  • Social functioning
  • High risk
  • Psychosis
  • VORST ALEXITHYMIA QUESTIONNAIRE
  • CLINICAL HIGH-RISK
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA-PATIENTS
  • 1ST-DEGREE RELATIVES
  • FACIAL AFFECT
  • SELF-REPORT
  • INTELLIGENCE
  • PERSONALITY
  • VALIDITY
  • SCALE

Cite this