Psychotic experiences (PEs) may predict a range of common, non-psychotic disorders as well as psychotic disorders. In this representative, general population-based cohort study, both psychotic and non-psychotic disorder outcomes of PE were analysed, as were potential moderators.
Addresses were contacted in a multistage clustered probability sampling frame covering 11 districts and 302 neighbourhoods at baseline (n = 4011). Participants were interviewed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) both at baseline and at 6-year follow-up. Participants with PE at baseline were clinically re-interviewed with the SCID-I at follow-up. The role of socio-demographics, characteristics of PE, co-occurrence of mood disorders and family history of mental disorders were tested in the association between baseline PE and follow-up diagnosis.
In the participants with baseline PE, the psychotic disorder diagnosis rate at follow up was 7.0% – much lower than the rates of DSM-IV mood disorders without psychotic features (42.8%) and other non-psychotic disorders (24.1%). Within the group with baseline PE, female sex, lower socio-economic status, co-occurrence of mood disorders, family history of a mental disorder and persistence of PE predicted any follow-up DSM diagnosis. Furthermore, onset of psychotic v. non-psychotic disorder was predicted by younger age (15–30 years), co-presence of delusional and hallucinatory PE and family history of severe mental illness.
The outcome of PE appears to be a consequence of baseline severity of multidimensional psychopathology and familial risk. It may be useful to consider PE as a risk indicator that has trans-diagnostic value.