Assessment of the Prodromal Questionnaire–Brief Child Version for Measurement of Self-reported Psychoticlike Experiences in Childhood

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Abstract

Importance

Childhood psychoticlike experiences (PLEs) are associated with greater odds of a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder during adulthood. However, no known, well-validated self-report tools have been designed to measure childhood PLEs.

Objective

To examine the construct validity and psychometric properties of a measure of PLEs, the Prodromal Questionnaire–Brief Child Version (PQ-BC).

Design, Setting, and Participants

This validation study used data from the first wave of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, a prospective longitudinal study aimed at assessing risk factors associated with adverse physical and mental health outcomes from ages 9 to 10 years into late adolescence and early adulthood. The population-based sample of 3984 children within the ABCD data set was recruited from 20 research sites across the United States. Data for this study were collected from June 1, 2016, through August 31, 2017.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The PQ-BC Total and Distress scores were analyzed for measurement invariance across race/ethnicity and sex, their associations with measures of PLEs, and their associations with known correlates of PLEs, including internalizing and externalizing symptoms, neuropsychological test performance, and developmental milestones.

Results

The study analyses included 3984 participants (1885 girls [47.3%] and 2099 boys [52.7%]; mean [SE] age, 10.0 [0.01] years). The results demonstrated measurement invariance across race/ethnicity and sex. A family history of psychotic disorder was associated with higher mean (SE) PQ-BC Total (3.883 [0.352]; β = 0.061; 95% CI, 0.027-0.094) and Distress (10.210 [1.043]; β = 0.051; 95% CI, 0.018-0.084) scores, whereas a family history of depression or mania was not. Higher PQ-BC scores were associated with higher rates of child-rated internalizing symptoms (Total score: β range, 0.218 [95% CI, 0.189-0.246] to 0.273 [95% CI, 0.245-0.301]; Distress score: β range, 0.248 [95% CI, 0.220-0.277] to 0.310 [95% CI, 0.281-0.338]), neuropsychological test performance deficits such as working memory (Total score: β = −0.042 [95% CI, −0.077 to −0.008]; Distress score: β = −0.051 [95% CI, −0.086 to −0.017]), and motor and speech developmental milestone delays (Total score: β = 0.057 [95% CI, 0.026-0.086] for motor; β = 0.042 [95% CI, 0.010-0.073] for speech; Distress score: β = 0.048 [95% CI, 0.017-0.079] for motor; β = 0.049 [95% CI, 0.018-0.081] for speech).

Conclusions and Relevance

These results provide support for the construct validity and demonstrate adequate psychometric properties of a self-report instrument designed to measure childhood PLEs, providing evidence that the PQ-BC may be a useful measure of early risk for psychotic disorders. Furthermore, these data suggest that PLEs at school age are associated with many of the same familial, cognitive, and emotional factors associated with psychotic symptoms in older populations, consistent with the dimensionality of psychosis across the lifespan.

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