Prevalence and Correlates of Auditory Vocal Hallucinations in Middle Childhood

Agna A. Bartels-Velthuis, Jack A. Jenner, Gerard van de Willige, Jim van Os, Durk Wiersma, The British Journal of Psychiatry, 2010, 196, 41–46.

Abstract: Auditory vocal hallucinations among adults are often associated with psychiatric disorders, but reviews of general population incidence and prevalence studies show that the rate of psychotic experiences, including auditory vocal hallucinations, is far greater than traditional estimates of the incidence and prevalence of psychotic disorders (systematic review van Os et al, 2009). Nevertheless, auditory vocal hallucinations may be usefully conceptualised as a risk factor for psychotic disorder, particularly if they are associated with psychological or behavioural complications. In children and adolescents, auditory vocal hallucinations occur in both clinical and non-clinical populations. Although the phenomenon of hearing voices in childhood may predict adult schizophrenia, the great majority of children with hallucinatory experiences never make the transition to clinical disorder.9 Population surveys generally involve children in late childhood or adolescence, reporting prevalence rates of auditory hallucinations between 5 and 16%.