Cognitive Predictors of Persistent Psychotic Experiences in Adolescence: a Longitudinal Study.

Colm Healy1, Ian Kelleher1, Helen Coughlan1, Mary Clarke1,2, Mary Cannon1; 1Department of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin 2, Ireland, 2Department of Psychology, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin 2, Ireland

Psychotic experiences (PEs) are prevalent in the population, especially in early adolescence, and are associated with poor mental health outcomes. In most cases, PEs are transient with only a minority persisting over time. Identifying individuals for whom PEs persist is an important clinical goal. We followed a cohort from early to late adolescence to investigate whether baseline cognitive performance could differentiate between individuals with persistent or remitting PEs. At T1, 165 of the participants (x̄Age: 11.50) who took part in the ‘Adolescent Brain Development’ study were assessed using a clinical interview, the MATRICS neurocognitive battery and the Penn Emotion Recognition-40 test (Penn ER-40). 22.6% reported definite PEs. 86 took part in a second phase of the study (x̄Age: 15.74). 31.8% of those with definite PEs at T1 had persistent PEs at T2, while 62.2% had remitted. We compared the T1 cognitive performance of participants with persistent and remittent PEs. At T1, adolescents who went on to have persistent PEs were significantly poorer on tasks of problem solving (NAB Mazes: p= .017) and emotion recognition (Penn ER-40: p= .015) than adolescents whose PEs remitted. Performance on these two tests at T1 correctly classified 87.5% of participants as having Persisting or Remitting PEs at T2 (χ2 =8.175, p =.017, r2 =.40). We provide longitudinal evidence suggesting that poorer problem solving and emotional recognition abilities in early adolescence may be useful for differentiating individuals with persisting PEs from those whose PEs remit over time. This may aid in targeting individuals for early intervention.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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