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Background: Cognitive models of adult psychosis propose that negative schematic beliefs ( NSBs ) mediate the established association between victimisation and psychotic symptoms. In childhood, unusual, or psychotic-like, experiences are associated with bullying ( a common form of victimisation ) and NSBs. This study tests the mediating role of NSBs in the relationship between bullying and distressing unusual experiences ( UEDs ) in childhood. Method: Ninety-four 8–14 year olds referred to community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services completed self-report assessments of UEDs, bullying, and NSBs about the self ( NS ) and others ( NO ). Results: Both NS and NO were associated with bullying ( NS: r = .40, P < .001; NO: r = .33, P = .002 ), and with UEDs ( NS: r = .51, P < .001; NO: r = .43, P < .001 ). Both NS and NO significantly mediated the relationship between bullying and UEDs ( NS: z = 3.15, P = .002; NO: z = 2.35, P = .019 ). Conclusions: Children's NSBs may mediate the adverse psychological impact of victimisation, and are appropriate treatment targets for young people with UEDs. Early educational intervention to reduce negative appraisals of the self and others may increase resilience to future adverse experiences and reduce later mental health risk.

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Journal Article

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