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Vol. 42, No. 4, 2009
Issue release date: June 2009

Anomalous Subjective Experience and Psychosis Risk in Young Depressed Patients

Szily E. · Kéri S.
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Background: Help-seeking young people often display depressive symptoms. In some patients, these symptoms may co-exist with clinically high-risk mental states for psychosis. The aim of this study was to determine differences in subjective experience and social perception in young depressed patients with and without psychosis risk. Methods: Participants were 68 young persons with major depressive disorder. Twenty-six patients also met the criteria of attenuated or brief limited intermittent psychotic symptoms according to the Comprehensive Assessment of At Risk Mental States (CAARMS) criteria. Subjective experiences were assessed with the Bonn Scale for the Assessment of Basic Symptoms (BSABS). Recognition of complex social emotions and mental states was assessed using the ‘Reading the Mind in the Eyes’ test. Results: Perplexity, self-disorder, and diminished affectivity significantly predicted psychosis risk. Depressed patients without psychosis risk displayed impaired recognition performance for negative social emotions, whereas patients with psychosis risk were also impaired in the recognition of cognitive expressions. In the high-risk group, self-disorder was associated with impaired recognition of facial expressions. Conclusions: These results suggest that anomalous subjective experience and impaired recognition of complex emotions may differentiate between young depressed patients with and without psychosis risk.

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