Publications by authors named "Kari Aaltonen"

7 Publications

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Self-reported treatment adherence among psychiatric in- and outpatients.

Nord J Psychiatry 2018 Oct 16;72(7):526-533. Epub 2018 Nov 16.

d Department of Psychiatry , Institute of Clinical Medicine , Helsinki , Finland.

Background: Poor adherence to psychiatric treatment is a common clinical problem, leading to unfavourable treatment outcome and increased healthcare costs.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the self-reported adherence and attitudes to outpatient visits and pharmacotherapy in specialized care psychiatric patients.

Methods: Within the Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium (HUPC) pilot study, in- and outpatients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (SSA, n  =  113), bipolar disorder (BD, n  =  99), or depressive disorder (DD, n  =  188) were surveyed about their adherence and attitudes towards outpatient visits and pharmacotherapy. Correlates of self-reported adherence to outpatient and drug treatment were investigated using regression analysis.

Results: The majority (78.5%) of patients reported having attended outpatient visits regularly or only partly irregularly. Most patients (79.2%) also reported regular use of pharmacotherapy. Self-reported non-adherence to preceding outpatient visits was consistently and significantly more common among inpatients than outpatients across all diagnostic groups (p < .001). Across all groups, hospital setting was the strongest independent correlate of poor adherence to outpatient visits (SSA β = -2.418, BD β = -3.417, DD β = -2.766; p < .001 in all). Another independent correlate of non-adherence was substance use disorder (SSA β = -1.555, p = .001; BD β = -1.535, p = .006; DD β = -2.258, p < .000). No other socio-demographic or clinical factor was significantly associated with poor adherence in multivariate regression models.

Conclusions: Irrespective of diagnosis, self-reported adherence to outpatient care among patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and depression is associated strongly with two factors: hospital setting and substance use disorders. Thus, detection of adherence problems among former inpatients and recognition and treatment of substance misuse are important to ensure proper outpatient care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08039488.2018.1538387DOI Listing
October 2018

Features of borderline personality disorder as a mediator of the relation between childhood traumatic experiences and psychosis-like experiences in patients with mood disorder.

Eur Psychiatry 2018 03 30;49:9-15. Epub 2018 Jan 30.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, P.O. Box 22, 00014, Finland. Electronic address:

Background: Psychosis-like experiences (PEs) are common in patients with non-psychotic disorders. Several factors predict reporting of PEs in mood disorders, including mood-associated cognitive biases, anxiety and features of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Childhood traumatic experiences (CEs), often reported by patients with BPD, are an important risk factor for mental disorders. We hypothesized that features of BPD may mediate the relationship between CEs and PEs. In this study, we investigated the relationships between self-reported PEs, CEs and features of BPD in patients with mood disorders.

Methods: As part of the Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium study, McLean Screening Instrument (MSI), Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-42) and Trauma and Distress Scale (TADS) were filled in by patients with mood disorders (n = 282) in psychiatric care. Correlation coefficients between total scores of scales and their dimensions were estimated, multiple regression and mediation analyses were conducted.

Results: Total scores of MSI correlated strongly with scores of the CAPE-42 dimension "frequency of positive symptoms" (rho = 0.56; p ≤ 0.001) and moderately with scores of TADS (rho = 0.4; p ≤ 0.001). Total score of MSI and its dimension "cognitive symptoms", including identity disturbance, distrustfulness and dissociative symptoms, fully mediated the relation between TADS and CAPE-42. Each cognitive symptom showed a partial mediating role (dissociative symptoms 43% (CI = 25-74%); identity disturbance 40% (CI = 30-73%); distrustfulness 18% (CI = 12-50%)).

Conclusions: Self-reported cognitive-perceptual symptoms of BPD fully mediate, while affective, behavioural and interpersonal symptoms only partially mediate the relationships between CEs and PEs. Recognition of co-morbid features of BPD in patients with mood disorders reporting PEs is essential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.12.005DOI Listing
March 2018

Features of borderline personality disorder as a mediator of the relation between childhood traumatic experiences and psychosis-like experiences in patients with mood disorder.

Eur Psychiatry 2018 03 30;49:9-15. Epub 2018 Jan 30.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, P.O. Box 22, 00014, Finland. Electronic address:

Background: Psychosis-like experiences (PEs) are common in patients with non-psychotic disorders. Several factors predict reporting of PEs in mood disorders, including mood-associated cognitive biases, anxiety and features of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Childhood traumatic experiences (CEs), often reported by patients with BPD, are an important risk factor for mental disorders. We hypothesized that features of BPD may mediate the relationship between CEs and PEs. In this study, we investigated the relationships between self-reported PEs, CEs and features of BPD in patients with mood disorders.

Methods: As part of the Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium study, McLean Screening Instrument (MSI), Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-42) and Trauma and Distress Scale (TADS) were filled in by patients with mood disorders (n = 282) in psychiatric care. Correlation coefficients between total scores of scales and their dimensions were estimated, multiple regression and mediation analyses were conducted.

Results: Total scores of MSI correlated strongly with scores of the CAPE-42 dimension "frequency of positive symptoms" (rho = 0.56; p ≤ 0.001) and moderately with scores of TADS (rho = 0.4; p ≤ 0.001). Total score of MSI and its dimension "cognitive symptoms", including identity disturbance, distrustfulness and dissociative symptoms, fully mediated the relation between TADS and CAPE-42. Each cognitive symptom showed a partial mediating role (dissociative symptoms 43% (CI = 25-74%); identity disturbance 40% (CI = 30-73%); distrustfulness 18% (CI = 12-50%)).

Conclusions: Self-reported cognitive-perceptual symptoms of BPD fully mediate, while affective, behavioural and interpersonal symptoms only partially mediate the relationships between CEs and PEs. Recognition of co-morbid features of BPD in patients with mood disorders reporting PEs is essential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.12.005DOI Listing
March 2018

Psychoactive substance use in specialized psychiatric care patients.

Int J Psychiatry Med 2017 Jul-Sep;52(4-6):399-415

1 Department of Psychiatry, 159841 HYKS sairaanhoitopiiri , University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.

Objective Life expectancy of psychiatric patients is markedly shorter compared to the general population, likely partly due to smoking or misuse of other substances. We investigated prevalence and correlates of substance use among psychiatric patients. Methods Within the Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium Study, data were collected on substance use (alcohol, smoking, and illicit drugs) among patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (n = 113), bipolar (n = 99), or depressive disorder (n = 188). Clinical diagnoses of substance use were recorded, and information on smoking, hazardous alcohol use, or misuse of other substances was obtained using questionnaires. Results One-fourth (27.7%) of the patients had clinical diagnoses of substance use disorders. In addition, in the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, 43.1% had hazardous alcohol use and 38.4% were daily smokers. All substance use was more common in men than in women. Bipolar patients had the highest prevalence of alcohol use disorders and hazardous use, whereas those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were more often daily smokers. In regression analyses, self-reported alcohol consumption was associated with symptoms of anxiety and borderline personality disorder and low conscientiousness. No associations emerged for smoking. Conclusions The vast majority of psychiatric care patients have a diagnosed substance use disorder, hazardous alcohol use, or smoke daily, males more often than females. Bipolar patients have the highest rates of alcohol misuse, schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder patients of smoking. Alcohol use may associate with symptoms of anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and low conscientiousness. Preventive and treatment efforts specifically targeted at harmful substance use among psychiatric patients are necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0091217417738937DOI Listing
June 2018

Relationships between self-reported childhood traumatic experiences, attachment style, neuroticism and features of borderline personality disorders in patients with mood disorders.

J Affect Disord 2017 Mar 14;210:82-89. Epub 2016 Dec 14.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland; Mental Health Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. Electronic address:

Background: Co-occurring borderline personality disorder (BPD) features have a marked impact on treatment of patients with mood disorders. Overall, high neuroticism, childhood traumatic experiences (TEs) and insecure attachment are plausible aetiological factors for BPD. However, their relationship with BPD features specifically among patients with mood disorders remains unclear. We investigated these relationships among unipolar and bipolar mood disorder patients.

Methods: As part of the Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium study, the McLean Screening Instrument (MSI), the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R), the Short Five (S5) and the Trauma and Distress Scale (TADS) were filled in by patients with mood disorders (n=282) in psychiatric care. Correlation coefficients between total scores of scales and their dimensions were estimated, and multivariate regression (MRA) and mediation analyses were conducted.

Results: Spearman's correlations were strong (rho=0.58; p<0.001) between total scores of MSI and S5 Neuroticism and moderate (rho=0.42; p<0.001) between MSI and TADS as well as between MSI and ECR-R Attachment Anxiety. In MRA, young age, S5 Neuroticism and TADS predicted scores of MSI (p<0.001). ECR-R Attachment Anxiety mediated 33% (CI=17-53%) of the relationships between TADS and MSI.

Limitations: Cross-sectional questionnaire study.

Conclusions: We found moderately strong correlations between self-reported BPD features and concurrent high neuroticism, reported childhood traumatic experiences and Attachment Anxiety also among patients with mood disorders. Independent predictors for BPD features include young age, frequency of childhood traumatic experiences and high neuroticism. Insecure attachment may partially mediate the relationship between childhood traumatic experiences and borderline features among mood disorder patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.12.004DOI Listing
March 2017

Relationships between self-reported childhood traumatic experiences, attachment style, neuroticism and features of borderline personality disorders in patients with mood disorders.

J Affect Disord 2017 Mar 14;210:82-89. Epub 2016 Dec 14.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland; Mental Health Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland. Electronic address:

Background: Co-occurring borderline personality disorder (BPD) features have a marked impact on treatment of patients with mood disorders. Overall, high neuroticism, childhood traumatic experiences (TEs) and insecure attachment are plausible aetiological factors for BPD. However, their relationship with BPD features specifically among patients with mood disorders remains unclear. We investigated these relationships among unipolar and bipolar mood disorder patients.

Methods: As part of the Helsinki University Psychiatric Consortium study, the McLean Screening Instrument (MSI), the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised (ECR-R), the Short Five (S5) and the Trauma and Distress Scale (TADS) were filled in by patients with mood disorders (n=282) in psychiatric care. Correlation coefficients between total scores of scales and their dimensions were estimated, and multivariate regression (MRA) and mediation analyses were conducted.

Results: Spearman's correlations were strong (rho=0.58; p<0.001) between total scores of MSI and S5 Neuroticism and moderate (rho=0.42; p<0.001) between MSI and TADS as well as between MSI and ECR-R Attachment Anxiety. In MRA, young age, S5 Neuroticism and TADS predicted scores of MSI (p<0.001). ECR-R Attachment Anxiety mediated 33% (CI=17-53%) of the relationships between TADS and MSI.

Limitations: Cross-sectional questionnaire study.

Conclusions: We found moderately strong correlations between self-reported BPD features and concurrent high neuroticism, reported childhood traumatic experiences and Attachment Anxiety also among patients with mood disorders. Independent predictors for BPD features include young age, frequency of childhood traumatic experiences and high neuroticism. Insecure attachment may partially mediate the relationship between childhood traumatic experiences and borderline features among mood disorder patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.12.004DOI Listing
March 2017
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