The association between transient childhood psychotic experiences and psychosocial outcomes in young adulthood: Examining the role of mental disorders and adult attachment

Lorna Staines*, Colm Healy, Ian Kelleher, David Cotter, Annette Burns, Mary Cannon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aim: Evidence suggest individuals with mental disorders and psychotic experiences (PE), even transient PE, show poorer psychosocial outcomes relative to those with mental disorders. The concept of “attachment” is hypothesized as the mechanism by which people seek support in times of need. This can be measured as discrete styles or as positive (low avoidance/anxiety)/negative (high avoidance/anxiety) dimensions. Adult attachment has previously been examined on PE risk factors, but not outcomes. This study aimed to examine the relationship between transient childhood PE and adult psychosocial outcomes, comparing those with and without mental disorders. Second, to examine the role of adult attachment. Method: Participants (n = 103) attended baseline (age 11–13) and 10-year follow-up. PE and mental disorders were measured using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-aged Children. Attachment and outcomes were measured using self-report measures. Analysis compared those with PE (with/without mental disorders), and mental disorders without PE, to controls, using linear and Poisson regression. Results: PE was associated with lower self-esteem (β = −2.28, p =.03), perceived social support from friends (β = −2.80, p =.01), and higher stress in platonic relationships (IRR = 1.64). PE and mental disorders were associated with lower self-esteem (β = −5.74, p =.002), higher stress in romantic (IRR = 1.40) and platonic (IRR = 1.59) relationships, general stress (β = 5.60, p =.006), and mental distress (β = 5.67, p =.001). Mental disorders alone was not associated with any measure. Adult attachment dimensions attenuated some results. Conclusions: This paper illustrates the association between transient PE and adult psychosocial outcomes, with & without co-occurring mental disorders, and demonstrates the role of adult attachment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Early online date16 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jan 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • adult
  • attachment
  • childhood and adolescent
  • mental disorders
  • psychosocial outcomes
  • psychotic experiences

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