Persistence and outcome of auditory hallucinations in adolescence: A longitudinal general population study of 1800 individuals

Ellen De Loore, Nicole Gunther, Marjan Drukker, Frans Feron, Bernard Sabbe, Dirk Deboutte, Jim van Os, Inez Myin-Germeys*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

66 Citations (Web of Science)


Background: Auditory hallucinations are common in adolescents. However, it has been suggested that not the presence of low-grade psychotic experiences per se, but rather the level of persistence and associated clinical complications over time may lead to psychotic illness. The current paper investigated, in a large representative sample of adolescents, to what degree hallucinations persist, and whether persistence of hallucinations increases the risk of developing secondary delusional ideation and affective dysregulation. Methods: Data were derived from a general health screening of all 1912 adolescents living in the Maastricht area. Baseline assessment was in the second grade of secondary school (T0) and follow-up occurred 2 years later (T1). Questions included the psychosis screening questions (Poulton et al., 2000), the SDQ assessing general psychopathology and a question assessing depression. Results: Five percent of adolescents reported hallucinations at TO and 27% of these hallucinations were still present 2 years later. Hallucinations at TO were associated with increased levels of depressed mood and general psychopathology at T1, and the degree of persistence of hallucinations was associated with a progressively greater risk for T1 delusional ideation as well as increased levels of follow-up depressed mood and general psychopathology. Conclusion: Although hallucinations in adolescents are a common and mainly transitory phenomenon, the persistence rate over time is far from negligible, and associated with clinical deterioration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-256
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Hallucinations
  • Adolescence
  • Psychotic disorder
  • General population

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