Depression and Psychosis Risk Shared Vulnerability for Motor Signs Across Development, Symptom Dimensions, and Familial Risk

Katherine S.F. Damme*, Jadyn S. Park, Sebastian Walther, Teresa Vargas, Stewart A. Shankman, Vijay A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Motor abnormalities are strong transdiagnostic indicators of psychopathology risk that reflect emerging neural network abnormalities. Indeed, motor signs, such as motor slowing and agitation, are widely recognized as core features of both psychosis and depression. However, it is unclear whether these reflect shared or distinct etiology. Methods: A sample of 11 878 adolescents completed self-reported clinical measures of rated psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) and depression. Familial risk for psychopathology and the presence of motor signs were drawn from parental reports, including developmental motor delays (eg, sitting, walking), and adolescent motor signs (eg, dyscoordination, psychomotor retardation, and psychomotor agitation). Finally, motor network connectivity in theoretically relevant networks (cortico-striatal, cortico-thalamic, and cortico-cerebellar) were related to symptoms and familial risk for psychopathology. Results: Developmental motor delays related to increased PLEs, increased depression symptoms, and greater familial risk. Familial risk for both PLEs and depression showed higher rates of developmental motor delays than all other groups. Adolescent motor signs, however, showed unique patterns of relationships to symptoms and familial risk such that dyscoordination reflected risk for PLEs, both psychomotor agitation and retardation reflected depression risk, and psychomotor agitation reflected transdiagnostic risk. Cortico-striatal connectivity was related to depression and PLEs, but cortico-cerebellar connectivity was linked to PLEs only. Conclusions: Motor signs may be a transdiagnostic marker of vulnerability for psychopathology. Early developmental motor delays could belie pluripotent, familial risk features. Unique items, eg, dyscoordination specifically related to PLEs, possibly reflecting processes inherent in distinct emerging forms of psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-762
Number of pages11
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • coordination
  • depression
  • motor development
  • psychomotor agitation
  • psychomotor retardation
  • psychotic-like experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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