An attachment perspective on the risk for psychosis: Clinical correlates and the predictive value of attachment patterns and mentalization

Stefano Vicari, Marco Tobia Mario Boldrini, Alessandro Tanzilli, Tommaso Boldrini, Maria Pontillo, Annalisa Tanzilli, Guido Giovanardi, Giuseppe Di Cicilia, Silvia Salcuni, Vittorio Lingiardi

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

4 Citazioni (Scopus)


Background: In a longitudinal design, the present study examined: (a) the nature of attachment patterns and reflective functioning (RF) in individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis (UHR); (b) the association between RF and subclinical psychotic symtoms; and (c) the psychosis-predictive value of attachment patterns, RF, and the interaction between these factors. Method: The sample comprised 57 UHR subjects and 53 clinical controls (non-UHR). UHR subjects were followed over a mean period of 14 months (SD = 2.7; range 11–19), during which time 11.5% developed psychosis. Attachment patterns and RF were measured. Hierarchical logistic regression was used to examine the predictive value of variables in the transition to psychosis. Results: At baseline, significant differences were found between groups in secure attachment patterns and RF. RF was negatively associated with the attenuated psychotic symptoms described by the Unusual Thought Content/Delusional Ideas, Suspiciousness/Persecutory Ideas, and Disorganized Communication subscales. Moreover, poor mentalization was related to an increased likelihood of developing a psychotic disorder (OR = 0.427, 95% CI [0.188, 0.970]); conversely, no predictive effects of the attachment variables and their interaction with RF on the transition to psychosis were found. Notably, an optimal threshold value of RF = 1.25 was found to distinguish UHR subjects who made the transition to psychosis from those who did not develop this pathology. Conclusion: The results suggest that aberrant mentalizing patterns can predict the development of psychosis. Clinical implications of these results for the development of preventive treatments are discussed.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)209-217
Numero di pagine9
RivistaSchizophrenia Research
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Attachment patterns
  • Attenuated psychotic symptoms
  • Attenuated psychotic syndrome
  • Mentalization
  • Reflective functioning
  • Ultra-high risk for psychosis


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