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Social Impairment and Mood Dysregulation in Adolescents at Risk for Psychosis: An Ambulatory Assessment Study
Adolescence is typically when early signs of psychosis develop, and social dysfunction and mood dysregulation are often the first of these signs to emerge. However, the exact nature and timing of these disturbances in adolescents at risk for psychosis remain unclear. The present study examined social functioning, mood, and affect in a sample of adolescents ages 13-19 at familial high-risk for psychosis (HR; n = 21) compared to age- and sex- matched typical adolescents (n = 21). Participants completed laboratory-based interviews and questionnaires, as well as 9 days of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) questionnaires on study smartphones. Preliminary results suggest that, relative to typical adolescents, HR adolescents reported mood dysregulation and social dysfunction on both laboratory- and ambulatory-based assessments. The majority of HR adolescents met diagnostic criteria for a mood disorder; they also reported more negative and less positive affect in daily life, relative to controls. In terms of social functioning, HR adolescents reported relatively fewer close friendships, more social anxiety, and more remote (e.g., online) social interactions on EMA assessments. We further discuss the relationship of affect and social behavior with psychotic-like experiences. These findings could contribute to enhanced identification of and clinical interventions for those at risk for psychosis.