Childhood theory of mind does not predict psychotic experiences and social functioning in a general population sample of adolescents

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Abstract

AIMS: Theory of Mind (ToM) is often impaired in early and chronic phases of psychosis and it is often suggested that poor ToM is a trait vulnerability for psychosis. The aim of this study was to examine in an adolescent sample whether childhood ToM abilities can predict psychotic experiences over a period of six years and whether this is mediated by social functioning. To examine whether ToM is a specific predictor for psychosis, symptoms of depression and anxiety were also examined.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A baseline case-control sample (T0: age 7-8 years) with and without auditory vocal hallucinations (AVH) in the general population was assessed after five years (T1: age 12-13 years) on ToM ability (ToM Storybook Frank), and after eleven years (T2: age 18-19 years) on psychotic experiences (Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences; CAPE), depressive and anxiety symptoms (Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale; DASS-21), and social functioning (Groningen Questionnaire on Social Behaviour; GSVG-45). Analyses were conducted on a subsample of 157 adolescents aged 18-19 years (T2) who had data available on ToM ability at T1.

RESULTS: ToM at T1 was not predictive of psychotic experiences after six years (from age 12-13 to age 18-19) and social functioning was also not a mediator. ToM was not associated with psychopathology in general (depressive and anxiety symptoms) over six years (from age 12-13 to age 18-19).

CONCLUSIONS: The current study found no evidence for a longitudinal association between ToM ability and psychotic experiences, social functioning, and symptoms of depression and anxiety, in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0213165
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28-Feb-2019

Keywords

  • 1ST EPISODE PSYCHOSIS
  • AUDITORY VOCAL HALLUCINATIONS
  • CLINICAL HIGH-RISK
  • ULTRA-HIGH RISK
  • EMOTION RECOGNITION
  • SCHIZOPHRENIA
  • INDIVIDUALS
  • COGNITION
  • SYMPTOMS
  • PREVALENCE

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