Objective: It is unclear why some individuals reporting psychotic experiences have balanced lives while others go on to develop mental health problems. The objective of this study was to test if the personality traits of harm avoidance, self-directedness, and self-transcendence can be used as criteria to differentiate healthy from unhealthy schizotypal individuals. Methods: We interviewed 115 participants who reported a high frequency of psychotic experiences. The instruments used were the Temperament and Character Inventory (140), Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, and the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences. Results: Harm avoidance predicted cognitive disorganization (β = 0.319; t = 2.94), while novelty seeking predicted bipolar disorder (β = 0.136, Exp [b] = 1.146) and impulsive non-conformity (β = 0.322; t = 3.55). Self-directedness predicted an overall decrease in schizotypy, most of all in cognitive disorganization (β = -0.356; t = -2.95) and in impulsive non-conformity (β = -0.313; t = -2.83). Finally, self-transcendence predicted unusual experiences (β = 0.256; t = 2.32). Conclusion: Personality features are important criteria to distinguish between pathology and mental health in individuals presenting high levels of anomalous experiences (AEs). While self-directedness is a protective factor, both harm avoidance and novelty seeking were predictors of negative mental health outcomes. We suggest that the impact of AEs on mental health is moderated by personality factors.
- Diagnosis and classification
- Outpatient psychiatry
- Personality disorders - cluster a (paranoid-schizoid-schizotypal)