Psychotic symptoms and social functioning: a longitudinal study

Sarah A Sullivan, Glyn H Lewis, Nicola J Wiles, Andrew Thompson, Jonathan Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Purpose Both adolescent psychotic experiences and poor social functioning precede psychotic disorder however whether poor social functioning is also a risk factor for rather than a consequence of adolescent psychotic experiences is not clear. We investigate this question as well as whether deterioration in social functioning confers the strongest risk of psychotic experiences and whether theory of mind ability mediates any association, in a large community sample.
Methods Measures of social functioning (peer problems and pro social behaviour) at ages 7 and 11 and theory of mind ability and psychotic experiences at age 12 were collected in a large community sample (n=3592). The association between social functioning and psychotic experiences was examined using logistic regression models at each age and any additional impact of deterioration in social functioning between ages 7 and 11. The potential role of theory of mind as a mediator was also investigated.
Results Peer problems at both ages were independently associated with psychotic experiences at age 12 (7 years OR 1.11 95% CI 1.03,1.20), (11 years OR 1.13 95% CI 1.05,1.22). Theory of mind ability did not mediate this association. The association was not restricted to those with deteriorating social functioning (interaction term; p=0.49).
Conclusions Poor childhood social functioning precedes adolescent psychotic experiences. There was no evidence that those with deteriorating social functioning were at greatest risk.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013




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