Do childhood psychotic experiences improve the prediction of adolescent psychopathology? A longitudinal population-based study.

Background: Early identification of individuals at risk of later mental disorders an important goal. A history of one or more psychotic experiences (PE) reported in childhood has been associated with subsequent psychopathology, but it remains unclear if it provides predictive information above beyond what is already captured by established clinical markers. Aims: 1) To investigate the utility of childhood PE as a predictor of adolescent psychopathology while accounting for three known risk factors: childhood mental disorder; traumatic experiences; and poor childhood functioning; and 2) To investigate the additive effects of including childhood PE in predictive clinical model of adolescent psychopathology.

Method: The study sample comprised 86 Irish youth who completed two waves of the ‘Adolescent Brain Development’ study’ (baseline x̄Age:11.7 and follow-up x̄Age:15.7). At baseline, participants completed a clinical interview assessing for PE, mental disorders, traumatic experiences and global functioning in childhood. The internalising and externalising problems sub-scales from the Youth Self Report questionnaire were used as follow-up outcomes variables in adolescence.

Results:Logistic regression analyses revealed that childhood PE was the only predictor significantly associated with both internalising (OR(Univariate):7.58,CI:2.59-22.15; OR(multivariate):5.43,CI:1.53-19.29) and externalising (OR(Univariate):11.76,CI:3.70-37.41; OR(Multivariate):30.39,CI:5.28-174.80) problems in adolescence. All predictive models with PE significantly predicted adolescent outcomes (AUC range:0.70-0.81; all p

Conclusion: Childhood PE is a powerful predictor of adolescent psychopathology, particularly externalising problems. Routine assessment of PE and targeted support for children who report PE may reduce the incidence of mental disorder in adolescence.