Psychological Medicine

Diagnostic outcome of self-reported hallucinations in a community sample of adolescents

D.  DHOSSCHE  a1 c1, R.  FERDINAND  a1, J.  VAN DER ENDE  a1, M. B.  HOFSTRA  a1 and F.  VERHULST  a1
a1 From the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Sophia's Children Hospital/Erasmus University Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Objective. We aimed to assess the diagnostic outcome of self-reported hallucinations in adolescents from the general population.

Method. The sample consisted of 914 adolescents between ages 11–18 participating in an ongoing longitudinal study. The participation rate from the original sample was 70%. Responses on the Youth Self-Report questionnaire were used to ascertain hallucinations in adolescents. Eight years later, Axis 1 DSM-IV diagnoses were assessed using the 12-month version Composite International Diagnostic Interview in 783 (86%) of 914 study subjects. No subjects were diagnosed with schizophreniform disorders or schizophrenia.

Results. Hallucinations were reported by 6% of adolescents and 3% of young adults. Self-reported hallucinations were associated with concurrent non-psychotic psychiatric problems in both age groups. Adolescents who reported auditory, but not visual, hallucinations, had higher rates of depressive disorders and substance use disorders, but not psychotic disorders, at follow-up, compared to controls.

Conclusions. Self-reported auditory hallucinations in adolescents are markers of concurrent and future psychiatric impairment due to non-psychotic Axis 1 disorders and possibly Axis 2 disorders. It cannot be excluded that there was selective attrition of children and adolescents who developed Schizophrenic or other psychotic disorders later in life.

c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Dirk Dhossche, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216, USA.