Concept: Schizoid personality disorder
The present study examined the validity of psychometrically assessed positive and negative schizotypy in a study of 214 Spanish young adults using interview and questionnaire measures of impairment and psychopathology. Schizotypy provides a useful construct for understanding the etiology and development of schizophrenia and related disorders. Recent interview, laboratory, and experience sampling studies have supported the validity of psychometrically assessed positive and negative symptom dimensions. The present study expands on previous findings by examining the validity of these dimensions in a Spanish sample and employing a widely used interview measure of the schizophrenia prodrome. As hypothesized, the positive schizotypy dimension predicted CAARMS ultra high-risk or psychosis threshold status, and both dimensions uniquely predicted the presence of schizophrenia-spectrum personality disorders. Furthermore, positive schizotypy was associated with psychotic-like, paranoid, schizotypal, and mood symptoms, whereas negative schizotypy was associated with interview ratings of negative and schizoid symptoms. The schizotypy dimensions were also distinguished by their associations with self and other schemas. Positive schizotypy was associated with increased negative self and other schemas, whereas negative schizotypy was associated with decreased positive self and other schemas. The findings provide further construct validation of positive and negative schizotypy and support these dimensions as universal constructs.
OBJECTIVE The authors examined 3-year transitions among nonuse, asymptomatic use, and problem use of illicit drugs for U.S. adults in the general household population. METHOD Data were from the nationally representative National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a study of 34,653 adults interviewed twice, 3 years apart. Respondents were categorized on three mutually exclusive categories of baseline drug status: past-year nonusers (N=32,675), past-year asymptomatic drug users (N=861), and past-year symptomatic drug users (N=1,117). Symptomatic drug use, or problem use, was defined as presence of one or more symptoms that operationalize DSM-IV drug abuse and dependence criteria. The authors assessed sociodemographic, health, substance use, and psychiatric covariates for association with 3-year transitions to different status categories. RESULTS Among baseline nonusers, 95.4% continued to be nonusers at follow-up, 2.1% became asymptomatic users, and 2.5% developed problem use. Among baseline asymptomatic users, 66.6% had stopped using drugs at follow-up, 14.3% continued to be asymptomatic users, and 19.1% had developed problem use. Nearly half (49.0%) of those with problem use at baseline had stopped using drugs at follow-up, 10.9% had transitioned to asymptomatic use, and 40.1% continued to have problem use. Younger age, male sex, white race, and not being married were associated with progression from nonuse to use or problem use, as were alcohol and tobacco use and disorders, major depression, and schizotypal, borderline, and narcissistic personality disorders. Panic disorder and avoidant personality disorder were associated with less progression. CONCLUSIONS Transitions in drug use status are common. The finding that alcohol and tobacco variables and co-occurring psychopathology are important correlates of transitions suggests the value of addressing all co-occurring disorders and substance use in patient assessments and treatment planning, both to prevent adverse transitions and to promote positive transitions.
To understand the causes of schizophrenia, a search for stable markers (endophenotypes) is ongoing. In previous years, we have shown that the shine-through visual backward masking paradigm meets the most important characteristics of an endophenotype. Here, we tested masking performance differences between healthy students with low and high schizotypy scores as determined by the self-report O-Life questionnaire assessing schizotypy along three dimensions, i.e. positive schizotypy (unusual experiences), cognitive disorganisation, and negative schizotypy (introvertive anhedonia). Forty participants performed the shine-through backward masking task and a classical cognitive test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST). We found that visual backward masking was impaired for students scoring high as compared to low on the cognitive disorganisation dimension, whereas the positive and negative schizotypy dimensions showed no link to masking performance. We also found group differences for students scoring high and low on the cognitive disorganisation factor for the WCST. These findings indicate that the shine-through paradigm is sensitive to differences in schizotypy which are closely linked with the pathological expression in schizophrenia.
Spontaneous dyskinesia is associated with non-affective psychosis. Few studies investigated dyskinesia in individuals with subclinical psychotic experiences. We examined dyskinesia using instrumental measurements of force variability in 34 individuals with frequent auditory verbal hallucinations but without a clinical psychotic disorder and 31 matched healthy controls. Schizotypy was assessed using the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire. We found a positive correlation between dyskinesia and schizotypy in the total group. In addition, when using a cut-off point based on the 95th percentile of force variability in the control group, we found a greater proportion of subjects with dyskinesia in the group with auditory verbal hallucinations than in the control subjects. Current findings are in agreement with the concept of psychosis as a continuous phenomenon and with movement disorders being an integral part of psychosis.
Cortisol is involved in preparing the body’s response for stress. However, in those at risk for mental health problems, abnormal cortisol release following stress has been reported. In particular, we are yet to fully understand how stress leads to an exacerbation of symptoms and progression of risk in those who express psychosis proneness or schizotypy. Using the Trier Social Stress Test, we examined the effect of experimentally induced psychosocial stress on cortisol release in otherwise healthy individuals with schizotypal traits. This cross-sectional study included 58 individuals (32.76% male, mean age 22.43). Schizotypy was assessed by total Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire score and we additionally captured ratings of subjective stress. Salivary cortisol was collected over six time points spread prior to and after stress induction and was available for analysis in 39 individuals (28.21% male, mean age 22.77). Those with high schizotypal traits exhibited higher baseline cortisol levels (5.18 nmoL vs 3.71 nmoL). However, those with high schizotypal traits also displayed reduced mean cortisol release (2.02 nmoL vs 5.11 nmoL) and had a delayed cortisol release peak following psychosocial stress. These results indicate those with high schizotypal traits do not display physiological readiness following psychosocial stressors, perhaps due to an already taxed stress system.
Some personal drives correspond to extraordinary social roles. Given that behavioral strategies associated with such drives may conflict with those associated with ordinary roles, they could cause behavioral disorganization. To test whether they do so independent of the factors responsible for full-blown schizotypy and schizophrenia, these drives were assessed in the general population. Two hundred and nine healthy volunteers were individually presented with hundreds of names of social roles in experimental psychology conditions. The task of the participant was to decide whether or not (s)he would consider performing the role at any moment of his/her life. Schizotypal traits were measured with the schizotypal personality questionnaire (SPQ), and delusion-like ideations were assessed by the Peters et al. Delusion Inventory. Demographics and social desirability were controlled for. Participants accepting a greater percentage of extraordinary roles had higher SPQ scores. Among the three factors of the SPQ, disorganization was the one best predicted by those percentages. This correlation (r=0.40, P=7.2E-09) was significantly greater (Fisher Z-transform, P=0.003) than the correlation between the percentages of ordinary roles accepted and the SPQ scores (r=0.145, P=0.044). Reaction times revealed no suboptimal cognitive functioning in high accepters of extraordinary roles and further strengthened the drive hypothesis. Their acceptances of roles were done faster and their rejections took longer than those of low accepters (P=5E-12). Culturally embrained drives to do extraordinary roles could thus be an independent factor of the symptoms measured in the normality to schizophrenia continuum.
Hikikomori, a severe form of social withdrawal syndrome, is a growing social issue in Japan and internationally. The pathophysiology of hikikomori has not yet been elucidated and an effective treatment remains to be established. Recently, we revealed that avoidant personality disorder is the most common comorbidity of hikikomori. Thus, we have postulated that avoidant personality is the personality underpinning hikikomori. First, we herein show relationships between avoidant personality traits, blood biomarkers, hikikomori-related psychological features, and behavioural characteristics assessed by a trust game in non-hikikomori volunteers. Avoidant personality traits were negatively associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and uric acid (UA) in men, and positively associated with fibrin degeneration products (FDP) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in women. Next, we recruited actual individuals with hikikomori, and compared avoidant personality traits, blood biomarkers, and psychological features between individuals with hikikomori and age-matched healthy controls. Individuals with hikikomori had higher avoidant personality scores in both sexes, and showed lower serum UA levels in men and lower HDL-C levels in women compared with healthy controls. This is the first report showing possible blood biomarkers for hikikomori, and opens the door to clarify the underlying biological pathophysiology of hikikomori.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) and avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) are frequently co-occurring psychiatric disorders with symptomatology related to fear of social situations. It is uncertain to what degree the 2 disorders reflect the same genetic and environmental risk factors. The current study addresses the stability and co-occurrence of SAD and AvPD, the factor structure of the diagnostic criteria, and genetic and environmental factors underlying the disorders at 2 time points. SAD and AvPD were assessed in 1,761 young adult female twins at baseline and 1,471 of these approximately 10 years later. Biometric models were fitted to dimensional representations of SAD and AvPD. SAD and AvPD were moderately and approximately equally stable from young to middle adulthood, with increasing co-occurrence driven by environmental factors. At the first wave, approximately 1 in 3 individuals with AvPD had SAD, increasing to 1 in 2 at follow-up. The diagnostic criteria for SAD and AvPD had a two-factor structure with low cross-loadings. The relationship between SAD and AvPD was best accounted for by a model with separate, although highly correlated (r = .76), and highly heritable (.66 and .71) risk factors for each disorder. Their genetic and environmental components correlated .84 and .59, respectively. The finding of partially distinct risk factors indicates qualitative differences in the etiology of SAD and AvPD. Genetic factors represented the strongest time-invariant influences, whereas environmental factors were most important at the specific points in time. (PsycINFO Database Record
Historical and current research on borderline personality disorder reveal certain affinities with schizophrenia spectrum psychopathology. This is also the case for the borderline criteria of “identity disturbance” and “feelings of emptiness,” which reflect symptomatology frequently found in schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder. Unfortunately, the diagnostic manuals offer limited insight into the nature of these criteria, including possible deviations and similarities with schizophrenia spectrum symptomatology. In this article, we attempt to clarify the concepts of identity disturbance and feelings of emptiness with an emphasis on the criteria’s differential diagnostic significance. Drawing on contemporary philosophy, we distinguish between a “narrative” self and a “core” self, suggesting that this distinction may assist differential diagnostic efforts and contribute to mark the psychopathological boundaries of these disorders.
Patients with schizophrenia are known to have impairments in sensory processing. In order to understand the specific temporal perception deficits of schizophrenia, we investigated and determined to what extent impairments in temporal integration can be dissociated from attention deployment using Attentional Blink (AB). Our findings showed that there was no evident deficit in the deployment of attention in patients with schizophrenia. However, patients showed an increased temporal integration deficit within a hundred-millisecond timescale. The degree of such integration dysfunction was correlated with the clinical manifestations of schizophrenia. There was no difference between individuals with/without schizotypal personality disorder in temporal integration. Differently from previous studies using the AB, we did not find a significant impairment in deployment of attention in schizophrenia. Instead, we used both theoretical and empirical approaches to show that previous findings (using the suppression ratio to correct for the baseline difference) produced a systematic exaggeration of the attention deficits. Instead, we modulated the perceptual difficulty of the task to bring the baseline levels of target detection between the groups into closer alignment. We found that the integration dysfunction rather than deployment of attention is clinically relevant, and thus should be an additional focus of research in schizophrenia.