Facial emotion identification in early-onset psychosis

Presentation First Author: 
Sophie Barkl

Facial emotion identification (FEI) deficits are common in patients with chronic schizophrenia and are strongly related to impaired functioning. The objectives of this study were to determine whether FEI deficits are present and emotion specific in people experiencing early-onset psychosis (EOP), and related to current clinical symptoms and functioning. Patients with EOP (n = 34, mean age = 14.11, 53% female) and healthy controls (HC, n = 42, mean age 13.80, 51% female) completed a task of FEI that measured accuracy, error pattern and response time. Symptoms were assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS), Childhood Depression Inventory, and Young Mania Rating Scale. Functional outcomes were assessed using the Role Functioning Scale and the Global Assessment of Functioning. Relative to HC, patients with EOP (i) had lower accuracy for identifying facial expressions of emotions, especially fear, anger and disgust, (ii) were more likely to misattribute other emotional expressions as fear or disgust, and (iii) were slower at accurately identifying neutral, anger and disgust facial expressions. In patients, higher negative symptoms on the PANSS related to lower FEI accuracy (overall, fear, and disgust), and higher levels of general psychopathology related to lower accuracy for identifying fear only. FEI accuracy was not related to current functioning. Deficits in FEI (especially for fear, anger and disgust) are evident in EOP and related to clinical symptoms, but not to functioning. Our findings suggest that while emotion identification deficits may reflect a trait susceptibility marker, functional deficits may represent a sequeale of illness.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Suncica Lah - Jean Starling - Cassandra Hainsworth - Anthony Harris - Leanne Williams
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