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Tuesday, October 9 • 4:55pm - 5:15pm
Symposium 20, Talk 2. "Validation of self-reported paranoid thoughts amongst adolescents using Virtual Reality"

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Charlotte Gayer-Anderson1, Gemma Knowles1, Stephanie Beards1, Maria Rus-Calafell1, Craig Morgan1, Lucia Valmaggia1,2; 1King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neursocience, 2South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Background: Studies of suspiciousness about others in early adolescence have relied almost exclusively on self-report measures, with high resulting prevalence estimates (~30-45%). Virtual reality (VR) has successfully been used in adult samples to discriminate more precisely between potentially rational perceptions of threat, and unfounded paranoia. Using the first laboratory method for capturing the experience amongst adolescents, we are assessing the extent of agreement between self-report and interview measures of paranoia and low-level paranoia towards neutral avatars in a VR environment. Methods: Self-report and interview data on low-level paranoia are being collected from adolescents as part of a new cohort study, REACH (Resilience, Ethnicity and AdolesCent mental Health). Around 200 adolescents from REACH will be invited to enter a VR school canteen populated by neutral characters, and will be assessed on positive, neutral, and negative thoughts about the avatars. Results: Current pilot data (n=29) provides suggestive evidence that higher levels of negative thoughts towards the neutral characters was associated with feeling lonely (β 4.04, p 0.045), generalized anxiety (β 8.04, p 0.001), and depression (β 6.45, p 0.001). There was no association between VR-rated paranoid thoughts and self-report paranoia (β 0.27, p 0.851). Additional data will be available at the time of the conference. Conclusions: There is a need for simple and effective methods to accurately identify those with paranoia since these experiences are associated with increased distress and poor functioning in the short-term, and a range of severe mental health problems in the long-term. VR could be one such method.

Tuesday October 9, 2018 4:55pm - 5:15pm EDT
American Ballroom-Center Westin Copley Place, fourth floor

Attendees (2)