Scientific article

Coping Strategies Mediate the Effect of Stressful Life Events on Schizotypal Traits and Psychotic Symptoms in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome

Publication date2018

Converging evidence suggests that psychosis emerges from the complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Stressful life events (SLEs) play a prominent role in combination with coping strategies and with a dysfunctional hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA). It has been proposed that the framework of schizotypy might help disentangle the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of psychosis. Similarly, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is considered as a genetic model of psychosis vulnerability. However, SLE and coping strategies remain largely unexplored in 22q11DS. Moreover, the HPAA has not been systematically investigated in this population. Here, we explored the correlation between SLE, emotional coping strategies, schizotypal personality traits, subthreshold psychotic symptoms in a sample of 43 healthy controls (HCs) compared with 59 individuals with 22q11DS. In the latter, we also explored the correlation with pituitary volume as estimated from structural magnetic resonance imaging. We found that SLE and negative coping strategies were correlated with schizotypal personality traits in both HCs and 22q11DS, and with psychotic symptoms in the 22q11DS group only, whereas reduced pituitary volume correlated with general psychopathology. Moreover, dysfunctional coping mediated the effect of SLE on schizotypal personality traits and psychotic symptoms in 22q11DS. Our findings recapitulate evidence in nonsyndromic patients and confirm the central role of stress and coping in the pathogenesis of psychosis. More broadly, they highlight the importance of environmental factors in the pathway to psychosis in 22q11DS, suggesting a strong rationale for the implementation of stress and particularly coping-oriented interventions in this population.

Citation (ISO format)
ARMANDO, Marco et al. Coping Strategies Mediate the Effect of Stressful Life Events on Schizotypal Traits and Psychotic Symptoms in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. In: Schizophrenia Bulletin, 2018. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sby025
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0586-7614

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