Psychosis in a pediatric mood and anxiety disorders clinic: Phenomenology and correlates

Rosa Elena Ulloa, Boris Birmaher, David Axelson, Douglas E. Williamson, David A. Brent, Neal D. Ryan, Jeffrey Bridge, Marianne Baugher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine the demographics and phenomenology of psychosis in a sample of children and adolescents referred to a mood and anxiety disorders clinic. Method: Patients (N = 2,031) were assessed with the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children- Present Episode version and classified as definite, probable, or nonpsychotic. Clinical and demographic characteristics of the groups were compared, and symptoms of psychosis were analyzed using factor analysis. Results: Definite psychotic symptoms were seen in approximately 90 (4.5%) patients: 80% of these reported hallucinations (mainly auditory), 22% delusions, and 3.3% thought disorder. Of the patients with definite psychotic symptoms, 24% had bipolar disorder, 41% had major depression, 21% had subsyndromal depression, and 14% had schizophrenia spectrum disorders (schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders). Factor analysis of the definite psychotic symptoms yielded 4 factors: hallucinations, thought disorder, delusions, and manic thought disorder. Psychotic patients had a higher frequency of comorbid disorders and suicidal ideation than nonpsychotic patients. Conclusions: Outpatient youngsters with mood disorders frequently present with psychotic symptoms, in particular auditory hallucinations. These patients commonly have comorbid psychiatric disorders and suicidal ideation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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