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16-11-2011 | Mental health | Article

PLEs not linked to help-seeking behaviour


Free abstract

MedWire News: Psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) are not associated with help-seeking behaviour, research shows.

Previous studies have shown that patients with depression are likely to seek help for their condition, but it is not known whether PLEs, in the absence or presence of depression, are associated with help-seeking behavior, explain Hiroyuki Kobayashi (University of Cambridge, UK) and team.

The researchers therefore studied 750 help-seeking Japanese individuals (62.4% women), aged a mean of 23 years, who had approached a community mental health clinic, and a community sample of 781 students (59.2% women), aged a mean of 18 years, who had not sought help from a mental health clinic.

All of the participants were assessed for PLEs using the PRIME Screen-Revised (PS-R) questionnaire, which is designed to assess risk for psychosis and consists of 11 items relating to positive symptoms, such as delusional mood, overvalued belief, magical thinking, telepathy-like experiences, and perceptual distortions, as well as insight into illness.

Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (ZSDS) - a 20-item self-report questionnaire designed to measure the cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms associated with depression.

In total, 199 (27%) help-seeking patients and 82 (10%) nonhelp-seeking students tested positive for PLEs on the PS-R questionnaire.

There were no significant differences in mean PS-R total score (33.6 vs 30.0) or the frequency of positive items on the PS-R test between the help-seeking group and the students. Mean scores on the ZSDS, however, differed significantly between the groups, at 57.1 versus 44.6.

Logistic regression analysis revealed that none of the PLE items on the PS-R questionnaire were significantly associated with help-seeking behavior, after controlling for the effect of depressive symptoms.

In contrast, increased scores on the ZSDS were significantly associated with help-seeking behaviour.

Kobayashi and team conclude: "Our findings showed that attenuated psychotic symptoms do not contribute significantly to help-seeking behavior, suggesting that the relationships among PLEs, depressive symptoms, and help-seeking behavior should be reconsidered."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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