Neurological soft signs: Effects of trait schizotypy, psychological distress and auditory hallucination predisposition

Saskia de Leede-Smith, Steven Roodenrys, Lauren Horsley, Shannen Matrini, Erin Mison, Emma Barkus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Schizotypy is regarded as a trait vulnerability for psychotic disorders, yet alone is insufficient for development of a diagnosable disorder. Additional symptoms and psychological distress are necessary for help seeking and transition from an at risk mental state to a clinical diagnosis. The present study investigated the interaction between trait schizotypy, state auditory verbal hallucination (AVH) predisposition, distress and handedness for the expression of neurological soft signs (NSS), a neurodevelopmental vulnerability factor for psychosis. Cluster analysis formed schizotypy groups statistically across the dimensions captured by the SPQ. It was hypothesized that schizotypy and AVH predisposition would interact, resulting in significantly greater NSS. Psychological distress and handedness were hypothesized to be significant covariates, accounting for some variance in the expression of NSS between the groups. A sample of University students (n = 327) completed the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire, Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale, General Health Questionnaire and the Neurological Evaluation Scale (NES). Cluster Analysis revealed four schizotypy groups. Distress was not a significant covariate in any analysis. As expected, those with high overall schizotypy and high AVH predisposition expressed significantly greater Motor-Coordination NSS compared to those with high schizotypy and low AVH predisposition. Within the Mixed Interpersonal and Cognitive-Perceptual Schizotypy cluster, those with low AVH predisposition expressed significantly more Motor-Coordination NSS than those with high AVH predisposition. These findings suggest motor coordination NSS are detectable in schizotypy, and AVH predisposition appears to interact with these traits. This study highlights the importance of considering both trait and subclinical state risk factors when investigating risk for psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research: Cognition
Early online date23 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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