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27.04.2020 | original article | Ausgabe 3/2020 Open Access

neuropsychiatrie 3/2020

Metacognitive beliefs in individuals at risk for psychosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of sex differences

neuropsychiatrie > Ausgabe 3/2020
Josef Baumgartner, Zsuzsa Litvan, Marlene Koch, Barbara Hinterbuchinger, Fabian Friedrich, Lukas Baumann, Nilufar Mossaheb
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Sex differences were found in several domains in individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis, but no previous work has systematically reviewed and analysed possible sex differences in metacognition in this population. However, alterations in metacognitive beliefs have been shown in the at-risk mental state for psychosis population. Our aim was to qualitatively review and quantitatively analyse the existing literature for data on sex differences in metacognitive beliefs—mainly depicted by the Metacognitions Questionnaire (MCQ) and its short form (MCQ-30)—in individuals with at-risk mental states.


We performed a systematic review of the literature on metacognition in help-seeking adolescents and young adults at ultra-high risk for psychosis. We included peer-reviewed articles that included a high-risk for psychosis group assessed with operationalised criteria and instruments. For the quantitative meta-analysis, only studies comparing MCQ data in high-risk individuals were included. A fixed-effect meta-model was used and forest plots drawn for each subscale and overall score. The studies were weighted according to the inverse variance method in order to calculate pooled confidence intervals and p values.


No article on metacognitive beliefs in individuals at increased risk for psychosis explicitly reported possible sex differences. Our meta-analysis of 234 (57% male) individuals’ scores in the MCQ yielded no significant sex difference.


Currently, no sex differences in metacognition can be described in the at-risk population; however, data are insufficient and heterogeneous with regard to thoroughly answering the question whether sex differences in clinical high-risk populations are mirrored in the metacognitive domain.

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