Psychotic-like experiences in the general population: characterizing a high-risk group for psychosis.
Recent research shows that psychotic symptoms, or psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), are reported not only by psychosis patients but also by healthy members of the general population. Healthy individuals who report these symptoms are considered to represent a non-clinical psychosis phenotype, and have been demonstrated to be at increased risk of schizophrenia-spectrum disorder. Converging research now shows that this non-clinical psychosis phenotype is familial, heritable and covaries with familial schizophrenia-spectrum disorder. A review of the research also shows that the non-clinical phenotype is associated extensively with schizophrenia-related risk factors, including social, environmental, substance use, obstetric, developmental, anatomical, motor, cognitive, linguistic, intellectual and psychopathological risk factors. The criterion and construct validity of the non-clinical psychosis phenotype with schizophrenia demonstrates that it is a valid population in which to study the aetiology of psychosis. Furthermore, it suggests shared genetic variation between the clinical and non-clinical phenotypes. Much remains to be learned about psychosis by broadening the scope of research to include the non-clinical psychosis phenotype.