Sensory characteristics of youth at clinical high risk for psychosis

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2019 Apr;13(2):264-271. doi: 10.1111/eip.12475. Epub 2017 Aug 25.


Aim: To identify and compare the sensory characteristics of young people at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis to those of peers at clinical low risk (CLR), and to national normative data. CHR and CLR participants were recruited from 6 US regions.

Method: A descriptive cohort design was used to analyse baseline data collected as part of the Early Detection and Intervention for the Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP). Raw scores on the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile (AASP) were analysed for 205 young people with CHR and 87 with CLR in 2 age groups: 12 to 17 years (N = 203) and 18 to 25 years (N = 89). ANOVA procedures were used to determine whether differences in AASP scores existed across CLR, CHR, and normative groups by age group.

Results: CHR participants differed significantly from the normative group for all 4 AASP quadrant scores (Low Registration, Sensory Seeking, Sensory Sensitivity and Sensory Avoiding) in both age groups. CLR participants were similar to norms, except for Sensory Seeking scores that were significantly lower than norms in both age ranges.

Conclusion: Young people with CHR demonstrate active avoidance, heightened sensitivity, reduced seeking, and reduced registration of sensations in everyday life compared to typical peers. This pattern of differences may be a valuable marker for identifying individuals who are at high risk for developing a psychotic illness, and may also inform interventions designed to prevent or minimize the illness process and accompanying dysfunction.

Keywords: clinical high risk for psychosis; early psychosis; prodromal psychosis; sensory processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Delusions / diagnosis*
  • Delusions / psychology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Perceptual Disorders / psychology
  • Prodromal Symptoms*
  • Psychotic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult