Childhood psychotic experiences are associated with poorer global functioning throughout adolescence and into early adulthood.

BACKGROUND: Psychotic experiences (PEs) are common in childhood and have been associated with concurrent mental disorder and poorer global functioning. Little is known about the effects of childhood PEs on future functioning. We investigated the effects of childhood PEs on global functioning from childhood into early adulthood.

METHOD: Fifty-six participants from a community sample completed all three waves of the Adolescent Brain Development study (T1x¯ Age: 11.69, T2x¯ Age: 15.80 T3x¯Age: 18.80). At each phase, participants completed a clinical interview assessing for PEs, mental disorder and global function. Repeated measures models, adjusted for mental disorder and gender, were used to compare current (C-GAF) and most severe past (MSP-GAF) functioning in participants who had reported PEs in childhood and controls.

RESULTS: Participants with a history of PEs had significantly poorer C-GAF (P < 0.001) and MSP-GAF scores (P < 0.001). Poorer functioning was evident in childhood (C-GAF: P = 0.001; MSP-GAF: P < 0.001), adolescence (C-GAF: P < 0.001; MSP-GAF: P = 0.004) and early adulthood (C-GAF: P = 0.001; MSP-GAF: P = 0.076).

DISCUSSION: Children who report PEs have persistently poorer functioning through to early adulthood. The longitudinal association between childhood PEs and global functioning highlights the underlying global vulnerability in children reporting PEs, beyond what can be explained by mental disorder.