Perceptual abnormalities in clinical high risk youth and the role of trauma, cannabis use and anxiety

Psychiatry Res. 2017 Dec:258:462-468. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.08.045. Epub 2017 Aug 31.


Recent research suggests that perceptual abnormalities are a group of diverse experiences, which have been associated with trauma, cannabis use, and anxiety. Of the attenuated psychotic symptoms that are present in youth at clinical high risk (CHR) of psychosis, perceptual abnormalities tend to be one of the most frequently endorsed symptoms. However, very few studies have explored perceptual abnormalities and their relationships with the above environmental and affective factors in a CHR sample. Four hundred and forty-one CHR individuals who met criteria for attenuated psychotic symptom syndrome (APSS) determined by the Structured Interview for Psychosis-risk Syndromes (SIPS) were assessed on the content of their perceptual abnormalities, early traumatic experience, cannabis use and self-reported anxiety. Logistic regression analyses suggested that both simple auditory and simple visual perceptual abnormalities were more likely to be reported by CHR who had early traumatic experiences, who are current cannabis users, and who have higher levels of anxiety. Multiple regression analysis revealed that only trauma and anxiety were independent predictors of both simple auditory and simple visual perceptual abnormalities. It is possible that examining subtypes of perceptual abnormalities in CHR leads to an improved understanding of the prevalence of such symptoms.

Keywords: Attenuated psychotic symptoms; Clinical high risk; Hallucinations; Perceptual abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Use / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology*
  • Risk
  • Self Report
  • Syndrome