Psychotic-like experiences and academic achievement: Implications for detecting prodromal symptoms

Presentation First Author: 
Megan Walberg

Psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) and cognitive deficits in adolescence index a risk for psychosis. The relationship between PLEs and cognitive impairments, which may be indexed by academic underachievement, is not fully understood. This study aimed to explore both the quantitative and qualitative nature of this relationship. Drawing upon a British cohort study (N= 1247) of adolescents (14 years at baseline), a latent class analysis was used to assign participants to one of four groups based on national exams scores in English and Mathematics at ages 11, 14, and 15 years. A multinomial logistic regression was used to identify which of the achievement groups were significantly related to PLEs. The results indicated that two classes representing lower than average achievement (one in English _ =.83, p =.035 and in math _ = .80, p =.015) were significantly related to PLEs. A subsample (N =12-20) will be drawn from each achievement class and interviewed to explore the relationship between PLEs and achievement. A preliminary analysis using grounded theory methodology has revealed that individuals make no direct link between PLEs and low achievement. However, PLEs tended to co-occur with stressors, which participants cited as negatively impacting achievement outcomes. Emergent themes, such as drive to do well in school, parental (academic) support, and coping mechanisms appeared to play a role in mitigating the adverse effects of stressors on achievement. Overall, the findings suggest that potential prodromal symptoms may be detectable in the school setting and that this context can be used for early intervention.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Ian M Goodyer - Peter B Jones
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