Methods: Data were derived from the second Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS-2). The Composite International Diagnostic Interview and an add-on instrument were used to assess affective dysregulation (i.e. depression, anxiety and mania) and psychotic experiences (PEs), respectively. The beads task was used to assess JTC bias. Time series analyses were conducted using data from T1 and T2 (N = 8666), excluding individuals who reported high psychosis levels at T0.
Results: Although the prospective design resulted in low statistical power, the findings suggest that, compared to those without symptoms, individuals with lifetime affective dysregulation were more likely to progress from low/moderate psychosis levels (state of 'aberrant salience', one or two PEs) at T1 to high psychosis levels ('frank psychosis', three or more PEs or psychosis-related help-seeking behaviour) at T2 if the JTC bias was present [adj. relative risk ratio (RRR): 3.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8-18.6, p = 0.101]. Similarly, the JTC bias contributed to the persistence of high psychosis levels (adj. RRR: 12.7, 95% CI 0.7-239.6, p = 0.091).
Conclusions: We found some evidence that the JTC bias may contribute to psychosis progression and persistence in individuals with affective dysregulation. However, well-powered prospective studies are needed to replicate these findings.