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Subclinical psychosis syndromes in the general population: results from a large-scale epidemiological survey among residents of the canton of Zurich, Switzerland


Rössler, W; Ajdacic-Gross, V; Haker, H; Rodgers, S; Müller, M; Hengartner, M P (2015). Subclinical psychosis syndromes in the general population: results from a large-scale epidemiological survey among residents of the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 24(01):69-77.

Abstract

Aims. Prevalence and covariates of subclinical psychosis have gained increased interest in the context of early identification and treatment of persons at risk for psychosis. Methods. We analysed 9829 adults representative of the general population within the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Two psychosis syndromes, derived from the SCL-90-R, were applied: 'schizotypal signs' and 'schizophrenia nuclear symptoms'. Results. Only a few subjects (13.2%) reported no schizotypal signs. While 33.2% of subjects indicated mild signs, only a small proportion (3.7%) reported severe signs. A very common outcome was no 'schizophrenia nuclear symptoms' (70.6%). Although 13.5% of the participants reported mild symptoms, severe nuclear symptoms were very rare (0.5%). Because these two syndromes were only moderately correlated (r = 0.43), we were able to establish sufficiently distinct symptom clusters. Schizotypal signs were more closely connected to distress than was schizophrenia nuclear symptoms, even though their distribution types were similar. Both syndromes were associated with several covariates, such as alcohol and tobacco use, being unmarried, low education level, psychopathological distress and low subjective well-being. Conclusions. Subclinical psychosis symptoms are quite frequent in the general population but, for the most part, are not very pronounced. In particular, our data support the notion of a continuous Wald distribution of psychotic symptoms in the general population. Our findings have enabled us to confirm the usefulness of these syndromes as previously assessed in other independent community samples. Both can appropriately be associated with well-known risk factors of schizophrenia.

Abstract

Aims. Prevalence and covariates of subclinical psychosis have gained increased interest in the context of early identification and treatment of persons at risk for psychosis. Methods. We analysed 9829 adults representative of the general population within the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Two psychosis syndromes, derived from the SCL-90-R, were applied: 'schizotypal signs' and 'schizophrenia nuclear symptoms'. Results. Only a few subjects (13.2%) reported no schizotypal signs. While 33.2% of subjects indicated mild signs, only a small proportion (3.7%) reported severe signs. A very common outcome was no 'schizophrenia nuclear symptoms' (70.6%). Although 13.5% of the participants reported mild symptoms, severe nuclear symptoms were very rare (0.5%). Because these two syndromes were only moderately correlated (r = 0.43), we were able to establish sufficiently distinct symptom clusters. Schizotypal signs were more closely connected to distress than was schizophrenia nuclear symptoms, even though their distribution types were similar. Both syndromes were associated with several covariates, such as alcohol and tobacco use, being unmarried, low education level, psychopathological distress and low subjective well-being. Conclusions. Subclinical psychosis symptoms are quite frequent in the general population but, for the most part, are not very pronounced. In particular, our data support the notion of a continuous Wald distribution of psychotic symptoms in the general population. Our findings have enabled us to confirm the usefulness of these syndromes as previously assessed in other independent community samples. Both can appropriately be associated with well-known risk factors of schizophrenia.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:17 Feb 2014 10:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:34
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:2045-7960
Additional Information:Copyright: Cambridge University Press.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796013000681
PubMed ID:24280150

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