Childhood social isolation and psychotic experiences in young adulthood: a community based study

Julia C. Bennett, Pamela J. Surkan, Lawrence H. Moulton, Eric Fombonne, Maria Melchior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Non-clinical psychotic experiences (PEs) occur at over twice the rate of psychotic disorders along a continuum in the general population and increase risk for progression to diagnoseable disorders. Social isolation is a risk factor for psychotic disorders, although it is unclear if childhood social isolation increases risk for experience of non-clinical PEs later in life. Data come from the Gaz et Electricité (GAZEL) Youth Study (1991–1999) and the Trajectoires Épidémiologiques en Population (TEMPO) Study (2009–2011), a community-based prospective cohort study. Of 1,227 participants whose parents completed questionnaires (1999, participants aged 7–10 years) and who were followed-up (2011, participants aged 25–37 years), 333 had childhood social isolation and young adult PE data. Lifetime prevalence of PEs was 21%. Childhood social isolation was not associated with 0–1 PE in young adulthood (p = 0.74). However, childhood social isolation predicted the experience of ≥ 2 PEs in young adulthood, controlling for gender, age, and general health status (OR = 11.5, 95% CI = 2.5, 52.0, p = 0.002). Childhood social isolation predicts the risk of experiencing two or more lifetime PEs, which may increase the risk for subsequent progression to a diagnoseable psychotic disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1010
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Epidemiology
  • Psychosis
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Psychotic experiences
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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