Ethnic minority status and childhood trauma are established risk factors for psychotic disorders. Both are found to be associated with increased level of positive symptoms, in particular auditory hallucinations. Our main aim was to investigate the experience and effect of childhood trauma in patients with psychosis from ethnic minorities, hypothesizing that they would report more childhood trauma than the majority and that this would be associated with more current and lifetime hallucinations.
In this cross-sectional study we included 454 patients with a SCID-I DSM-IV diagnosis of non-affective or affective psychotic disorder. Current hallucinations were measured with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (P3; Hallucinatory Behaviour). Lifetime hallucinations were assessed with the SCID-I items: auditory hallucinations, voices commenting and two or more voices conversing. Childhood trauma was assessed with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, self-report version.
Patients from ethnic minority groups (n = 69) reported significantly more childhood trauma, specifically physical abuse/neglect, and sexual abuse. They had significantly more current hallucinatory behaviour and lifetime symptoms of hearing two or more voices conversing. Regression analyses revealed that the presence of childhood trauma mediated the association between ethnic minorities and hallucinations.
More childhood trauma in ethnic minorities with psychosis may partially explain findings of more positive symptoms, especially hallucinations, in this group. The association between childhood trauma and these first-rank symptoms may in part explain this group's higher risk of being diagnosed with a schizophrenia-spectrum diagnosis. The findings show the importance of childhood trauma in symptom development in psychosis.
First-episode psychosis (FEP) patients show structural brain abnormalities. Whether the changes are progressive or not remain under debate, and the results from longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies are mixed. We investigated if FEP patients showed a different pattern of regional brain structural change over a 1-year period compared with healthy controls, and if putative changes correlated with clinical characteristics and outcome.
MRIs of 79 FEP patients [SCID-I-verified diagnoses: schizophrenia, psychotic bipolar disorder, or other psychoses, mean age 27.6 (s.d. = 7.7) years, 66% male] and 82 healthy controls [age 29.3 (s.d. = 7.2) years, 66% male] were acquired from the same 1.5 T scanner at baseline and 1-year follow-up as part of the Thematically Organized Psychosis (TOP) study, Oslo, Norway. Scans were automatically processed with the longitudinal stream in FreeSurfer that creates an unbiased within-subject template image. General linear models were used to analyse longitudinal change in a wide range of subcortical volumes and detailed thickness and surface area estimates across the entire cortex, and associations with clinical characteristics.
FEP patients and controls did not differ significantly in annual percentage change in cortical thickness or area in any cortical region, or in any of the subcortical structures after adjustment for multiple comparisons. Within the FEP group, duration of untreated psychosis, age at illness onset, antipsychotic medication use and remission at follow-up were not related to longitudinal brain change.
We found no significant longitudinal brain changes over a 1-year period in FEP patients. Our results do not support early progressive brain changes in psychotic disorders.
To determine if the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire (BMQ) has satisfactory psychometric properties in patients with severe mental disorders and if their scores differ from those of patients with severe medical disorders. To investigate if the scores are related to medication adherence.
Two hundred and eighty psychiatric patients completed the BMQ and reported how much of their medication they had taken the past week. Serum concentrations of medications were analyzed. BMQ scores were compared with those of patients with chronic medical disorders.
Cronbach's alpha was satisfactory for all subscales. The psychiatric group scored lower on the necessity of taking medication than the medical group. Non-adherent patients felt medication to be less necessary and were more concerned about it than adherent patients. The necessity subscale predicted adherence fairly well.
The BMQ has satisfactory psychometric properties for use in patients with severe mental disorders. The constructs measured by the BMQ are related to adherence in these patients.
Impaired emotion perception is documented for schizophrenia, but findings have been mixed for bipolar disorder. In healthy samples females perform better than males. This study compared emotion perception in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and investigated the effects of gender.
Visual (facial pictures) and auditory (sentences) emotional stimuli were presented for identification and discrimination in groups of participants with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy controls.
Visual emotion perception was unimpaired in both clinical groups, but the schizophrenia sample showed reduced auditory emotion perception. Healthy males and male schizophrenia subjects performed worse than their female counterparts, whereas there were no gender differences within the bipolar group.
A disease-specific auditory emotion processing deficit was confirmed in schizophrenia, especially for males. Participants with bipolar disorder performed unimpaired.
Social anxiety is a common problem in psychotic disorders. The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, Self-Rating version (LSAS-SR) is a widely used instrument to capture different aspects of social anxiety, but its psychometric properties have not been tested in this patient group. The aims of the present study were to evaluate the psychometric properties of the LSAS-SR in patients with first episode psychosis, to investigate whether it differentiated between active and passive social withdrawal and to test which clinical factors contributed to current level of social anxiety.
A total of 144 first episode psychosis patients from the ongoing Thematically Organized Psychosis (TOP) study were included at the time of first treatment. Diagnoses were set according to the Structured Clinical Interview (SCID-1) for DSM-IV. A factor analysis was carried out and the relationship of social anxiety to psychotic and general symptomatology measured by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was evaluated. Possible contributors to social anxiety were analyzed using multiple hierarchic regression analysis.
The factor analysis identified three subscales: public performance, social interaction and observation. All three subscales showed satisfactory psychometric properties, acceptable convergent and discriminate properties, and confirmed previous findings in social anxiety samples. Self-esteem explained a significant amount of the variance in social anxiety, even after adjusting for the effects of delusions, suspiciousness and depression.
The study shows that the LSAS-SR can be used in this patient group, that social anxiety is strongly related to both behavioral social avoidance and to self-esteem. The results support the use of this measure in assessment of social anxiety in both clinical settings and in research.
To investigate potential risk factors for medication non-adherence in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
A total of 255 patients underwent clinical assessments, neurocognitive testing and blood sampling. The patients were divided into groups of 'No', 'Partial' or 'Full' adherence. Relationships to different risk factors were analyzed.
In schizophrenia, use of illicit substances, alcohol and poor insight were related to worse adherence. Schizophrenia patients with No adherence did better on tests of executive functioning, verbal learning and memory and had higher IQ than patients with better adherence. There were higher levels of autonomic side effects in the non-adherence group, but body mass index was lower in the Partial adherence group than in the Full adherence group. In the bipolar disorder patients, there was an association between the use of illicit substances and alcohol and poor adherence. We found no relationship between adherence behavior and neurocognition in the bipolar disorder group.
Substance use is an important risk factor for non-adherence in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Poor insight is also a risk factor in schizophrenia. The results suggest that cognitive dysfunction is not a risk factor for non-adherence in these diagnostic groups.
Sleep problems in bipolar disorder (BD) are common, but reported rates vary from 10% to 80%, depending on definitions, methodologies and management of potential confounding factors. This multicenter study seeks to address these issues and also compares BD cases with Hypersomnia as well as the more commonly investigated Insomnia and No Sleep Problem groups.
A cross-sectional comparison of sleep profiles in 563 BD I and II individuals who participated in a structured assessment of demographic, clinical, illness history and treatment variables.
Over 40% cases met criteria for Insomnia and 29% for Hypersomnia. In univariate analysis, Insomnia was associated with BD II depression whilst Hypersomnia was associated with BD I depression or euthymia. After controlling for confounders and covariates, it was demonstrated that Hypersomnia cases were significantly more likely to be younger, have BD I and be prescribed antidepressants whilst Insomnia cases had longer illness durations and were more likely to be prescribed benzodiazepines and hypnotics.
Whilst Insomnia symptoms are common in BD, Hypersomnia is a significant, frequently underexplored problem. Detailed analyses of large representative clinical samples are critical to extending our knowledge of differences between subgroups defined by sleep profile.