The role of self-concept clarity in psychotic and non-psychotic symptom profiles

Poster B66, Tuesday, October 9, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Essex Ballroom

Bill Sellwood1, Laura Binsale2, Philip Preston2, James Reilly3; 1University of Lancaster, 2Merseycare NHS Foundation Trust, 3University of Liverpool

Self-concept clarity (SCC - the “extent to which the contents of an individual's self-concept… are clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and temporally stable”) seems to be associated with psychosis and psychotic like symptoms. It has also been suggested as a mediator between childhood trauma and the occurrence of early psychosis. However, it is also associated with mental health problems not involving psychotic symptoms. The present study compared psychotic and non-psychotic groups in terms of adverse childhood experiences and the potential role of SCC as a mediator specific to the occurrence of psychotic symptoms. Participants (n = 145) were recruited to one of three groups: (1) psychosis (presence of psychotic experiences), (2) anxiety/depression (moderate-severe levels) or (3) control group (no psychotic experiences, mild levels of anxiety/depression). Adverse experiences in childhood were found to predict anxiety, depression and psychotic experiences. There were no statistically significant differences in levels of SCC between the three groups. However, reduced levels of SCC were associated with elevated anxious and depressive symptoms and SCC emerged as a significant predictor of anxiety and depression. There was no evidence that SCC specifically mediated the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and the occurrence of psychotic symptoms. Methodological issues are discussed as well as implications for further research.

Topic Area: Transdiagnostic Approaches

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