Subclinical psychotic experiences at the level of the general population are common, forming an extended psychosis phenotype with clinical psychosis. Persistence of subclinical experiences is associated with transition to later mental disorder. Increased daily life stress reactivity is considered an endophenotype for psychotic disorders. We examined, in a longitudinal framework, whether baseline momentary assessment markers of stress reactivity would predict persistence of subclinical psychotic experiences over time. In a general population sample of female twins (N = 566), the Experience Sampling Method (ESM; repetitive random sampling of momentary emotions, psychotic experiences and context) was used to assess (emotional and psychotic) daily life stress reactivity. Persistence of subclinical psychotic experiences was based on the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE), assessed three times over 14 months post-baseline. It was investigated whether baseline daily life emotional and psychotic stress reactivity predicted persistence of psychotic experiences over time. Higher levels of emotional stress reactivity (a decrease in positive and an increase in negative affect in response to stress), and increased psychotic reactivity to daily stress was found in individuals with persistent psychotic experiences over time compared to individuals with transient psychotic experiences. The results suggest that markers of daily life stress reactivity may predict "macro-level'' persistence of normally transient expression of psychotic liability over time. Linking daily life markers of altered reactivity in terms of emotions and psychotic experiences to longitudinal persistence of psychotic experiences, associated with increased risk of transition to overt mental disorder, may contribute to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of risk.
- MOMENTARY ASSESSMENT