Psychotic-like experiences in major depression and anxiety disorders: a population-based survey in young adults

Daniel Varghese, James Scott, Joy Welham, William Bor, Jake Najman, Michael O'Callaghan, Gail Williams, John McGrath
Schizophrenia Bulletin 2011, 37 (2): 389-93

OBJECTIVE: Population-based surveys have confirmed that psychotic-like experiences are prevalent in the community. However, it is unclear if these experiences are associated with common mental disorders. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of psychotic-like experiences in those with affective and anxiety disorders.

METHODS: Subjects were drawn from the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy. Delusion-like experiences were assessed with the Peters Delusional Inventory (PDI). The Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to identify individuals with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) lifetime diagnoses of major depression, anxiety disorder, substance use/dependence, and psychotic disorders. The influence of affective and anxiety disorders on PDI and CIDI psychosis-related items' scores were assessed with logistic regression, with adjustments for age, sex, and the presence of the other comorbid psychiatric diagnoses.

RESULTS: Having either a lifetime diagnosis of major depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder was associated with significantly higher PDI total scores (highest vs lowest quartile adjusted odds ratios [ORs] and 95% confidence intervals [CIs] = 4.43, 3.09-6.36; 3.08, 2.26-4.20, respectively). The odds of endorsing any CIDI hallucination or delusion item was increased in those with a major depressive or anxiety disorder. The presence of current anxiety disorder symptoms was significantly associated with PDI score (OR = 5.81, 95% CI = 3.68-9.16).

CONCLUSION: While psychotic-like experiences are usually associated with psychotic disorders, individuals with depression and anxiety are also more likely to report these symptoms compared with well individuals. Psychotic-like experiences are associated with a range of common mental disorders.

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