Colloquium: A network perspective on psychopathology
Psychotic symptoms indicate risk for mental illness. Despite much effort, our current ability to predict the course and outcome of early psychotic symptoms is limited, hampering timely intervention and treatment. Research in this area to date relies heavily on diagnostic categories, group-level comparisons and assessment of static symptom levels. However, symptoms may wax, wane or change individually. In addition, current diagnostic labels do not do justice to the complexity of mental illness, but still play a dominant role in psychiatric research. A shift from a group-level, diagnosis-specific focus to a more dynamic, personalized and transdiagnostic focus is necessary.
To improve our understanding of psychotic development, a novel network perspective might be fruitful. This network approach proposes that we view psychopathology as a dynamic system of fluctuating symptoms that impact on each other, over time and across diagnostic boundaries. In a network representation of psychopathology, symptoms act as nodes in a network which, when activated, may trigger other symptoms. Increased connectivity between symptoms may drive onset of mental disorder. This approach to psychopathology can capture all relevant symptoms, circumventing issues with diagnostic boundaries and comorbidity.
These symptom networks can then be used to predict progression through subsequent stages of clinical severity. The aim of this project is to determine the value of this dynamic network approach to predict illness course and outcome of early psychotic symptoms.
Dr Johanna Wigman completed her Master of Neuro- and Rehabilitation Psychology in 2006 at the Radboud University of Nijmegen (NL). For her PhD research, focused on the structure and development of subclinical psychotic experiences in healthy adolescents, she collaborated with the universities of Utrecht, Groningen and Maastricht (NL). From 2011-2013, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Universities of Utrecht, Maastricht and the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland (RCSI). In 2014, she received a Veni-grant for early career researchers from the Dutch Scientific Organisation (NWO). In this context, she now works as a post-doc researcher and project leader of an Early Detection Study at the University Medical Centre of Groningen (UMCG). Johanna’s research interests are the early expressions and development of psychopathology (especially psychosis) in young people, the interactions between symptoms, and clinical staging. She applies network theory to take a broad approach towards psychopathology to improve early recognition and, eventually, treatment of mental illness.
Dr Johanna (Hanneke) Wigman
The University of Western Australia, Simmonds Lecture Theatre, G01, General Purpose Building 3
Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:00
Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:00
Admin Psy <[email protected]>
Wed, 11 Feb 2015 08:49
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