Background: Associations between self-control in adolescence and adult mental health are unclear in the general population; to our knowledge, no study has investigated self-control in relation to psychotic-like symptoms. Aims: To investigate the relationship between adolescent self-control and the midlife mental health outcomes of anxiety and depression symptoms and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs), controlling for the effect of adolescent conduct and emotional problems and for parental occupational social class and childhood cognition. Methods: A population-based sample, the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth cohort) was contacted 23 times between ages 6 weeks and 53 years. Teachers completed rating scales to assess emotional adjustment and behaviors, from which factors measuring self-control, behavioral, and emotional problems were extracted. At age 53 years, PLEs were self-reported by 2918 participants using 4 items from the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire; symptoms of anxiety and depression were assessed using the scaled version of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). Results: After adjustment for the above covariates, poor adolescent self-control was associated with the presence of PLEs in adulthood, specifically hallucinatory experiences at age 53 years, even after adjustment for GHQ-28 scores. Conclusions: Lower self-control in adolescence is a risk factor for hallucinatory experiences in adulthood.
- Psychotic-like experience
- Conduct problems