Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Evidence that Infant and Early Childhood Developmental Impairments are .....pdf (783.15 kB)

Evidence that infant and early childhood developmental impairments are associated with hallucinatory experiences: Results from a large, population-based cohort study

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-02, 16:02 authored by Eleanor Carey, Colm Healy, Yael Perry, Diane GillanDiane Gillan, Andrew J O Whitehouse, Mary CannonMary Cannon, Ashleigh Lin

Background: Cognitive and motor dysfunction are hallmark features of the psychosis continuum, and have been detected during late childhood and adolescence in youth who report psychotic experiences (PE). However, previous investigations have not explored infancy and early childhood development. It remains unclear whether such deficits emerge much earlier in life, and whether they are associated with psychotic, specifically hallucinatory, experiences (HE).

Methods: This study included data from Gen2 participants of The Raine Study (n = 1101), a population-based longitudinal cohort study in Western Australia. Five areas of childhood development comprising: communication; fine motor; gross motor; adaptive (problem-solving); and personal-social skills, were assessed serially at ages 1, 2 and 3 years. Information on HE, depression and anxiety at ages 10, 14 and 17 years was obtained. HE were further subdivided into those with transient or recurrent experiences. Mixed effects logistic regression models and cumulative risk analyses based on multiple domain delays were performed.

Results: Early poorer development in multiple areas was noted from ages 1, 2 and 3 years among youth who reported HE. Early developmental delays significantly increased the risk for later HE. This association was particularly marked in the recurrent HE group, with over 40% having early developmental delays in multiple domains. There was no significant association between early childhood development and later anxiety/depression apart from lower gross motor scores at age 3.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that early pan-developmental deficits are associated with later HE, with the effect strongest for young people who report recurrent HE throughout childhood and adolescence.


National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellowship (#1148793)

European Research Council Consolidator Award (724809 iHEAR)

Giorgetta Charity Fund

Investigator Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (#1173896)



This article has been published in a revised form in Psychological Medicine []. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © copyright holder

Published Citation

Carey E. et al. Evidence that infant and early childhood developmental impairments are associated with hallucinatory experiences: results from a large, population-based cohort study. Psychol Med. 2021:1-9

Publication Date

29 September 2021

PubMed ID



  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Psychiatry

Research Area

  • Population Health and Health Services
  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders


Cambridge University Press (CUP)


  • Accepted Version (Postprint)