Temporal association of stress sensitivity and symptoms in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis

J. E. DeVylder, S. Ben-David, S. A. Schobel, D. Kimhy, D. Malaspina, C. M. Corcoran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Increased sensitivity and exposure to stress are associated with psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia and its risk states, but little is known about the co-evolution of stress sensitivity and exposure with positive and other symptoms in a clinical high-risk (CHR) cohort. Method A combined cross-sectional and longitudinal design was used to examine the associations over time of stress sensitivity and exposure (i.e. life events) with 'prodromal' symptoms in a cohort of 65 CHR patients assessed quarterly for up to 4 years, and at baseline in 24 healthy controls similar in age and gender. Results Impaired stress tolerance was greater in patients, in whom it was associated over time with positive and negative symptoms, in addition to depression, anxiety and poor function. By contrast, life events were comparable in patients and controls, and bore no association with symptoms. In this treated cohort, there was a trajectory of improvement in stress tolerance, symptoms and function over time. Conclusions Impaired stress tolerance was associated with a wide range of 'prodromal' symptoms, consistent with it being a core feature of the psychosis risk state. Self-reported life events were not relevant as a correlate of clinical status. As in other treated CHR cohorts, most patients improved over time across symptom domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-268
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Hassles
  • high risk
  • life events
  • prodromal
  • schizophrenia
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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