Social defeat and paranoid ideation in the Ultra High Risk.

Presentation First Author: 
Lucia Valmaggia

Background Recent research has proposed that a plausible mechanism for why only a subset of 'ultra high risk (UHR) individuals make a transition to psychosis is that this transition is linked to increased exposure or to an increased vulnerability to social stressors (or to both) (Corcoran et al., 2003, Corcoran et al., 2012, Thompson et al., 2007). It has been proposed that the cumulative effect of prolonged exposure to such social stressors may lead to 'social defeat (Selten and Cantor-Graae, 2005). We used a Virtual Reality (VR) social environment to understand the association between social defeat and paranoid ideations in in people with UHR. Method Cross sectional comparison study. First comparison of UHR (N=64) participants and HC (N=43) were conducted to establish levels of social defeat and to study the relationship between social defeat and the appraisal of a VR social environment. In a second stage regression was used to investigated which baseline measure at baseline predicted paranoid appraisal following the VR experiment. Results UHR sample reported higher levels of social defeat than controls at baseline. Following exposure to the VR environment, the UHR group reported more paranoid appraisals than the controls. Furthermore in the UHR group baseline positive attenuated symptoms, baseline disorganised symptoms and social defeat were predictors of paranoid ideations in the VR environment. Conclusion VR can further increase understanding of the influence of social stressors on risk of psychosis. As VR becomes more affordable VR assisted therapy is growing in popularity.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
January, 2015
Additional Authors: 
Fern Day - Philippa Garety - Daniel Freeman - David Swapp - Angus Antley - Mel Slater - Philip K. McGuire - Ines Myin-Germeys
See other presentations in this session: