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The temporal association between social isolation, distress, and psychotic experiences in individuals at clinical high-risk for psychosis

Journal Contribution - e-publication

BACKGROUND: Psychotic experiences (PEs) and social isolation (SI) seem related during early stages of psychosis, but the temporal dynamics between the two are not clear. Literature so far suggests a self-perpetuating cycle wherein momentary increases in PEs lead to social withdrawal, which, subsequently, triggers PEs at a next point in time, especially when SI is associated with increased distress. The current study investigated the daily-life temporal associations between SI and PEs, as well as the role of SI-related and general affective distress in individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis. METHODS: We used experience sampling methodology in a sample of 137 CHR participants. We analyzed the association between SI, PEs, and distress using time-lagged linear mixed-effects models. RESULTS: SI did not predict next-moment fluctuations in PEs, or vice versa. Furthermore, although SI-related distress was not predictive of subsequent PEs, general affective distress during SI was a robust predictor of next-moment PEs. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that SI and PEs are not directly related on a moment-to-moment level, but a negative emotional state when alone does contribute to the risk of PEs. These findings highlight the role of affective wellbeing during early-stage psychosis development.
Journal: Psychological Medicine
ISSN: 0033-2917
Issue: 8
Volume: 54
Publication year:2024
Accessibility:Closed