Is stress sensitivity a better marker of risk than ultra high risk for psychosis criteria?

Poster C128, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Helen Stain1, Lisa Webster1, Ruth Wadman1, Lauren Mawn2, Nasima Akhter3, Adetayo Kasim3; 1School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health, Durham University, 2School of Psychology, Newcastle University, 3Wolfson Research Institute, Durham University

Background Increased stress sensitivity has been associated with experiences of childhood adversity and ultra high risk (UHR) for psychosis status (Lardinois et al, 2011). A recent meta-analysis reported that greater stress sensitivity was associated with increased odds for psychotic experiences (DeVylder et al, 2016). There is evidence that stress sensitivity mediates the relationship between adversity and psychotic experiences (Gibson et al, 2014). We sought to explore these relationships in a university student population and include a focus on functioning and academic self-efficacy. Method An online survey was completed by 500 university students. The survey included measures of stress sensitivity, depressed mood, wellbeing, functioning (social and academic) and adversity (childhood and current). UHR status was measured by the threshold of the Prodromal Questionnaire-16 (PQ). Results The majority of students were female (81%) and undergraduate (92%) with 102 meeting UHR threshold. Rates of childhood (50% vs 32%, p<.001) and current adversity (82% vs 72%, p<.05) were significantly higher for the UHR than non UHR participants. The UHR group had significantly higher stress sensitivity (p<.001) and decreased functioning and wellbeing. A model exploring the possible predictive value of stress sensitivity for academic self-efficacy, wellbeing and UHR for psychosis will be presented. Conclusion Stress sensitivity offers the opportunity for broad screening of vulnerable groups such as young people in transition periods. Importantly, it avoids the use of potentially stigmatising terms such as psychosis and personality disorder, and thus may have utility in screening for risk for the development of mental health problems.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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