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Auditory hallucinations in pre-pubertal children

A one-year follow-up, preliminary findings

Abstract

Background

The aims of this study were to describe the phenomenology of auditory hallucinations in children, to establish links with DSM IV diagnoses and to explore development of the hallucinations over a 12-month period.

Methods

Outpatients aged 5- to 12-year-old were consecutively recruited. They were interviewed using a questionnaire investigating auditory hallucinations. DSM IV diagnoses were determined. Follow-up assessments were performed at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.

Results

Ninety children were recruited. Sixteen reported auditory hallucinations. In 53% we observed children’s full recovery from hallucinations within 3 months and all of these suffered from anxiety disorders. In 30% hallucinations persisted over 12 months and all showed conduct disorders at this point in time. None was diagnosed as having schizophrenia.

Conclusions

Our study provides further evidence of the high prevalence of auditory hallucinations in pre-pubertal children presenting to psychiatric clinics. Two different patterns of development were seen. In one group the hallucinations seem unrelated to psychosis although they may be a manifestation of anxiety. In the second, much smaller, persistence of hallucinations appeared linked to conduct disorders.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Professor Philip Graham for assistance in preparing this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Florence L. Askenazy MD, PhD.

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Askenazy, F.L., Lestideau, K., Meynadier, A. et al. Auditory hallucinations in pre-pubertal children. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 16, 411–415 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-006-0577-9

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Keywords

  • auditory hallucinations
  • pre-pubertal children
  • anxiety
  • schizophrenia