While persuasive evidence has accumulated over the past 15 years documenting an association between schizophrenia and violence, there are 3 unresolved issues. First, does a downward extension of this relationship exist at the nonclinical level with respect to schizotypal personality and aggression in children? Second, is aggression more associated with impulsive reactive aggression or with more planned proactive aggression. Third and importantly, does peer victimization mediate the relationship between schizotypy and aggression? A further aim of this cross-sectional study was to examine the utility of a new child self-report measure of schizotypal personality. These issues were examined in a sample of 3804 schoolchildren assessed on schizotypy using the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Child (SPQ-C), reactive-proactive aggression, and peer victimization. A confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the 3-factor structure (cognitive-perceptual, interpersonal, and disorganized) of the SPQ-C. Schizotypy was positively associated with total aggression and reactive aggression but not with proactive aggression. Peer victimization was found to significantly mediate the schizotypy-aggression relationship, accounting for 58.9% of the association. Results are broadly consistent with the hypothesis that schizotypal features elicit victimization from other children, which in turn predisposes to reactive retaliatory aggression. Findings are to the authors' knowledge the first to document any mediator of the schizotypy-aggression relationship and have potential treatment implications for violence reduction in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. This study also provides initial evidence for the factorial and discriminant validity of a brief and simple measure of schizotypal personality in children as young as 8 years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health