Emotional and behavioral symptomatology reported by help-seeking youth at clinical high-risk for psychosis

Elizabeth Thompson, Emily Kline, Lauren M Ellman, Vijay Mittal, Gloria M Reeves, Jason Schiffman
Schizophrenia Research 2015, 162 (1-3): 79-85
Subthreshold psychosis-like experiences are typically the focus of psychosis-risk screening as they are associated with a greater propensity for future illness. Potentially prodromal individuals identified as being at clinical high-risk (CHR), however, report a variety of distressing and impairing mental health symptoms in addition to subthreshold psychosis symptoms, indicating that this population is of clinical interest regardless of whether or not they develop psychosis. In the current study, 90 young people (12-21) seeking mental health services completed the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2), a broad-range checklist of emotional and behavioral concerns and adaptive skills, followed by the Structured Interview for Psychosis-risk Syndromes to assess psychosis risk. Those who met criteria for CHR (n=35) reported elevated scores across several BASC-2 scales including depression, attention problems, locus of control, and sense of inadequacy compared to help-seeking youth without CHR (n=55). Most of these scales were also elevated compared to general population norms. Further, the CHR group had significantly lower scores on two adaptive scales, self-reliance and relations with parents, indicating more impairment in these domains. Results indicate that young people at CHR experience more pervasive and/or more severe symptomatology across several domains of clinical significance compared to a similar group of help-seeking youth not at CHR. Results from this study aid in the understanding of symptom correlates of CHR status beyond attenuated symptoms that can provide clinical information relevant for treatment.


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