Adolescent development of psychosis as an outcome of hearing impairment: a 10-year longitudinal study

M. Van Der Werf*, V. Thewissen, M.D. Dominguez, R. Lieb, H. Wittchen, J. van Os

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Background
    It has long been acknowledged that hearing impairment may increase the risk for psychotic experiences. Recent work suggests that young people in particular may be at risk, indicating a possible developmental mechanism.

    Method
    The hypothesis that individuals exposed to hearing impairment in early adolescence would display the highest risk for psychotic symptoms was examined in a prospective cohort study of a population sample of originally 3021 adolescents and young adults aged 14–24 years at baseline, in Munich, Germany (Early Developmental Stages of Psychopathology Study). The expression of psychosis was assessed at multiple time points over a period of up to 10 years, using a diagnostic interview (Munich Composite International Diagnostic Interview; CIDI) administered by clinical psychologists.

    Results
    Hearing impairment was associated with CIDI psychotic symptoms [odds ratio (OR) 2.04, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10–3.81], particularly more severe psychotic symptoms (OR 5.66, 95% CI 1.64–19.49). The association between hearing impairment and CIDI psychotic symptoms was much stronger in the youngest group aged 14–17 years at baseline (OR 3.28, 95% CI 1.54–7.01) than in the older group aged 18–24 years at baseline (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.24–2.84).

    Conclusions
    The finding of an age-specific association between hearing impairment and psychotic experiences suggests that disruption of development at a critical adolescent phase, in interaction with other personal and social vulnerabilities, may increase the risk for psychotic symptoms.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)477-485
    Number of pages9
    JournalPsychological Medicine
    Volume41
    Issue number3
    Early online date19 May 2010
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

    Keywords

    • Adolescents
    • development
    • hearing impairment
    • psychosis
    • social cognition

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