Psychotic-like experiences among 9,564 Kenyan adolescents and young adults

Daniel Mamah, Victoria N. Mutiso, David M. Ndetei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the prevalence and characteristics of psychotic-like experiences (PLE) in a large cohort of Kenyan adolescents and young adults. Method: The Washington Early Recognition Center Affectivity and Psychosis (WERCAP) Screen was used to the study the 12-month prevalence of PLE's among 9,564 Kenyan youths (aged 15-25 yrs), and the rates of psychosis high-risk (HR) and medium-risk (MR) cases, based on cut-off scores. Relationships with clinical, demographic and economic profiles were investigated. Results: Across all participants, 72% reported having had at least one PLE over the last year. 4.6% and 30.6% were HR and MR based on symptom scores. There were similar PLE rates in females and males. PLE severity correlated with mood (r=0.67), stress (r=0.46), and autistic traits (r=0.18). PLE severity was also related to poverty, lower education attainment, and underemployment. Compared to controls, HR and MR youths were more likely to report lifetime substance use and to have more significant use. Conclusion: Psychosis screening can provide valuable information about individuals and may help identify those who may require clinical assessment and intervention to improve outcomes. This is particularly relevant in many parts of Africa where the resources are limited for treating more advanced illness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113994
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Africa
  • Kenya
  • Psychosis
  • Psychotic experiences
  • Risk
  • Schizophrenia


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