Spontaneous discontinuation of distressing auditory verbal hallucinations in a school-based sample of adolescents: a longitudinal study

Vera Brink, Catheleine van Driel, Saliha el Bouhaddani, Klaas J. Wardenaar, Lieke van Domburgh, Barbara Schaefer, Marije van Beilen, Agna A. Bartels-Velthuis, Wim Veling

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) can be transiently present in both clinical and healthy adolescent populations. It is not yet fully understood why AVH discontinue in some adolescents and persist in others. The aim of this explorative study is to investigate predictors of spontaneous discontinuation of distressing AVH in a school-based sample of adolescents. 1841 adolescents (mean age 12.4 years, 58% female) completed self-report questionnaires at baseline. The current study included 123 adolescents (7%; 63% female) who reported at least mild distressing AVH at baseline and completed follow-up measurements. LASSO analyses were used to uncover predictors of spontaneous discontinuation of distressing AVH. During follow-up, 43 adolescents (35%) reported having experienced distressing AVH during the last 12 months, while 80 adolescents did not. Spontaneous discontinuation of distressing AVH was predicted by never having used cannabis, parents not being divorced in the past year, never having been scared by seeing a deceased body, less prosocial behaviour, school grade repetition, having the feeling that others have it in for you, having anxiety when meeting new people, having lived through events exactly as if they happened before and having the feeling as if parts of the body have changed. No associations between spontaneous discontinuation of distressing AVH and age or ethnicity were found. Distressing AVH in non-clinical adolescents are mostly transient. Discontinuation was predicted up to a certain extent. However, several predictors were difficult to interpret and do not provide leads for preventive measures, except for discouraging cannabis use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-790
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
Early online date1 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Adolescent
  • Auditory verbal hallucinations
  • Distress
  • Predictor
  • Psychopathology
  • Risk

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