Background There is increasing interest in studying psychotic symptoms in non-clinical populations, with the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences-Positive scale (CAPE-P15) being one of the self-screening questionnaires used most commonly for this purpose. Further research is needed to evaluate the ability of the scale to accurately identify and classify positive psychotic experiences (PE) in the general population. Aim To provide psychometric evidence about the accuracy of the CAPE-P15 for detecting PE in a sample of Chilean adolescents from the general population and classifying them according to their PE severity levels. Method We administered the CAPE-P15 to a general sample of 1594 students aged 12 to 19. Based on Item Response Theory (IRT), we tested the accuracy of the instrument using two main parameters: Difficulty and discrimination power of the 15 items. Results We found that the scale provides very accurate information about PE, particularly for high PE levels. The items with the highest capability to determine the presence of the latent trait were those assessing perceptual anomalies (auditory and visual hallucinations), bizarre experiences (a double has taken the place of others; being controlled by external forces), and persecutory ideation (conspiracy against me). Conclusions The CAPE-P15 is an accurate and suitable tool to screen PE and to accurately classify and differentiate PE levels in adolescents from the general population. Further research is needed to better understand how maladaptive psychological mechanisms influence relationships between PE and suicidal ideation (SI) in the general population.
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