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35. Facial Expressions of Emotions and Life Stress in Youth at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis
Negative symptoms (reductions in normal functions such as blunting in facial expressions) are characteristic of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. Evidence suggests a link between blunting in facial expressions and early life stress (e.g., witnessing violence) in psychosis. However, limited work has been done among individuals at clinical high-risk (CHR); this line of research can inform our conceptualizations of psychosis. Specifically, it is unclear whether alterations in facial expressions are related to early life stress and other life stressors, such as bullying victimization. Thus, the present study seeks to investigate whether alterations in facial expressions are related to (1) early life stress and (2) current bullying victimization using a sample of 42 CHR and 42 healthy controls. Data collection is complete and facial expressions will be coded during 1-minute of video-recorded clinical interviews on a second-by-second basis using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). Early life stress and bullying victimization will be assessed using self-and parent-reports. We predict that the CHR group will exhibit blunted joy expressions and will explore whether blunted joy expressions are linked to higher levels of early life stress and bullying victimization. These findings may inform our understanding of the relationships between negative symptoms and stress.