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The path from schizotypy to depression and aggression and the role of family stress

  • Premkumar, Preethi1
  • Kuipers, Elizabeth2, 3
  • Kumari, Veena4
  • 1 Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom , (United Kingdom)
  • 2 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, United Kingdom , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 NIHR Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom , (United Kingdom)
  • 4 Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, College of Life and Health Sciences, Brunel University London, United Kingdom , (United Kingdom)
Published Article
European Psychiatry
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date
Jul 30, 2020
DOI: 10.1192/j.eurpsy.2020.76
PMID: 32727629
PMCID: PMC7503167
PubMed Central


Background. Schizotypy is a multidimensional construct that is linked to the vulnerability for psychosis. Positive schizotypy includes having paranormal beliefs. Negative schizotypy includes social anhedonia. Disorganized schizotypy includes social anxiety and communication disorder. Schizotypy relates to depression and aggression. Family stress from high expressed emotion (EE; a rating of criticism, hostility, and emotional overinvolvement in a close relative toward a person showing signs of mental disorder) may mediate the link between schizotypy, depression and aggression. This study tested, using path analyses, the hypotheses that schizotypy predicts depression and aggression through high perceived EE as criticism and irritability (hypothesis 1) and praise and intrusiveness in a close relative (hypothesis 2). Methods. One hundred and four healthy participants listened to and rated the self-relevance of standard criticism and standard praise that denote EE. Participants rated their level of schizotypy, depression, aggression, and perceived EE in self-report questionnaires. Two path models tested the hypotheses. Results. Disorganized schizotypy, more than positive schizotypy, predicted the path to depression and aggression when perceived criticism and perceived EE-irritability were mediators. Disorganised schizotypy, more than negative schizotypy, predicted the path to depression and aggression when perceived praise and perceived EE-intrusiveness were mediators. Conclusions. Greater perceived criticism and less perceived praise in family communication explain the path from disorganized schizotypy (more so than positive or negative schizotypy) to depression and aggression. These findings indicate a need to consider the thought disorder-EE link as a potential contributor to depression and aggression in people with schizophrenia.

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