Gender differences in the experience of psychotic-like experiences and their associated factors: a study of adolescents from the general population

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • Alexandra Stainton
  • Katharine Chisholm
  • Tamara Woodall
  • Danielle Hallett
  • Ashleigh Lin

Abstract

“Psychotic-Like Experiences” (PLEs) are common in the general population. While they are usually transient and resolve spontaneously, they can be distressing and signify increased risk for later psychosis or other psychopathology. It is important to investigate factors associated with PLEs which could be targeted to reduce their prevalence and impact. Males and females are known to experience PLEs differently, but any gender differences in the relationships between PLEs and other, potentially targetable, factors are currently unknown.

302 adolescents (175 females, mean age=16.03, SD=0.75; 127 males, mean age=16.09, SD=0.74) from secondary schools in the West Midlands region of the UK completed baseline self-report measures of positive PLEs, measured by the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-P), and several potentially related factors including: cannabis use, perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and daily hassles.

PLEs were common in this sample, with 67.5% of individuals experiencing at least one CAPE-P item ‘often’ or ‘almost always’. Females reported significantly higher levels of PLEs, and associated distress, than males. Anxiety, depressive, and stress symptoms were similarly associated with PLEs in both genders. However, there was a significant interaction of gender and daily hassles in the association with PLEs.

In summary, there were significant gender differences in the experience of PLEs in this sample. Although daily hassles were more common in females, they had a significantly stronger association with PLEs in males. Thus, addressing “daily life stress” in adolescents may require tailoring towards the more emotional perception of stress in females, and towards everyday life hassles in males.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume228
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • psychotic-like experiences, subclinical psychotic experiences, psychosis, mental health, adolescents