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Psychotic-like experiences in the general population: characterizing a high-risk group for psychosis

  • I. Kelleher (a1) and M. Cannon (a1) (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 19 May 2010

Recent research shows that psychotic symptoms, or psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), are reported not only by psychosis patients but also by healthy members of the general population. Healthy individuals who report these symptoms are considered to represent a non-clinical psychosis phenotype, and have been demonstrated to be at increased risk of schizophrenia-spectrum disorder. Converging research now shows that this non-clinical psychosis phenotype is familial, heritable and covaries with familial schizophrenia-spectrum disorder. A review of the research also shows that the non-clinical phenotype is associated extensively with schizophrenia-related risk factors, including social, environmental, substance use, obstetric, developmental, anatomical, motor, cognitive, linguistic, intellectual and psychopathological risk factors. The criterion and construct validity of the non-clinical psychosis phenotype with schizophrenia demonstrates that it is a valid population in which to study the aetiology of psychosis. Furthermore, it suggests shared genetic variation between the clinical and non-clinical phenotypes. Much remains to be learned about psychosis by broadening the scope of research to include the non-clinical psychosis phenotype.

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*Address for correspondence: Dr I. Kelleher, Department of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland. (Email: (Email:
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