Don't worry, be happy: Protective factors to buffer against distress associated with psychotic experiences

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Abstract

Background: Around 6–7% of the general population report psychotic experiences (PEs). Positive PEs (e.g. hearing voices) may increase the risk of development of psychotic disorder. An important predictor of the transition to a psychotic disorder is secondary distress associated with PEs. We examined the moderating effect of potential protective factors on this secondary distress. Methods: Data come from 2870 individuals of the HowNutsAreTheDutch study. PEs were assessed with the Community Assessment of Psychic Experience (CAPE) questionnaire and were divided into three subdomains (“Bizarre experiences”, “Delusional ideations”, and “Perceptual anomalies”). Protective factors explored were having a partner, having a pet, benevolent types of humor, optimism and the high levels of personality traits emotional stability (reversed neuroticism), extraversion, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. We examined whether these protective factors moderated (lowered) the association between frequency of PEs and PE-associated distress. Results: Due to low prevalence of perceptual anomalies in the sample, this domain was excluded from analysis. No moderating effects were observed of protective factors on the association between bizarre experiences and distress. Having a partner and high levels of optimism, self-enhancing humor, openness, extraversion and emotional stability moderated the association between delusional ideations and secondary distress, leading to lower levels of distress. Conclusions: Several protective factors were found to moderate the association between frequency and secondary distress of delusional ideations, with high levels of the protective factors being associated with lower levels of distress. A focus on protective factors could be relevant for interventions and prevention strategies regarding psychotic phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume223
Early online date27-May-2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2020

Keywords

  • Psychotic experiences
  • Protective factors
  • Secondary distress
  • CAPE
  • HowNutsAreTheDutch
  • Psychosis
  • PERSONALITY-TRAIT CHANGE
  • QUALITY-OF-LIFE
  • MENTAL-DISORDERS
  • SOCIODEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS
  • NONAFFECTIVE PSYCHOSIS
  • ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCES
  • GENERAL-POPULATION
  • PET OWNERSHIP
  • HELP-SEEKING
  • BIRTH-COHORT

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