The role of coping in the association between subclinical psychotic experiences and functioning: A within study replication in two dependent adolescent samples

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Johanna Wigan
  • Danielle Hallett
  • Tamara Woodall
  • Simone Mahfouda
  • Eoin Killackey
  • Alison Yung
  • Ashleigh Lin

External organisations

  • University of Groningen
  • School of Psychology, University of Birmingham
  • Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Australia
  • University of Melbourne
  • Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health
  • University of Manchester
  • Greater Manchester West NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust
  • Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia


An inverse association between psychosocial functioning and psychotic experiences is now established in both clinical and non-clinical populations, however the mechanisms which drive this are unclear. Adolescents with subclinical psychotic experiences (SPE) are more likely to use maladaptive coping strategies and less likely to use adaptive ones, and maladaptive coping has also been associated with poor functioning. A within study replication in two adolescent samples from the general populations of Melbourne, Australia (n=723) and Birmingham, United Kingdom (n=239), was conducted to determine whether the association between SPE and psychosocial functioning is mediated by coping style.
SPE were associated with reduced general and family functioning and to a lesser extent with reduced peer functioning. Task-oriented (focusing on solving the problem) and emotion-oriented (negative emotional responses) coping were found to mediate the relationship between SPE and three types of functioning in both the Melbourne and the Birmingham samples.
The within study replication consistently found that coping style mediates SPE and psychosocial functioning, despite significant differences in age, gender, functioning, use of coping styles, and level of subclinical psychotic experiences between the two samples. Longitudinal research is needed to fully understand any causal role coping may play in the relationship between SPE and poor functioning. The results have important public health and clinical implications, and suggest that techniques which increase levels of adaptive coping and reduce levels of maladaptive coping (in particular emotion-oriented styles) may help to break the cycle between SPE, functional decline, and eventual need for care.


Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Early online date7 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jun 2018


  • subclinical psychotic experiences, psychotic-like experiences, adolescence, coping, psychosocial functioning