Childhood abuse as a risk factor for psychotic experiences

Authors

  • I. Janssen,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, azM/Mondriaan/Riagg/RIBW/Vijverdal Academic Centre, EURON, Maastricht University, MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • L. Krabbendam,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, azM/Mondriaan/Riagg/RIBW/Vijverdal Academic Centre, EURON, Maastricht University, MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. Bak,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, azM/Mondriaan/Riagg/RIBW/Vijverdal Academic Centre, EURON, Maastricht University, MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. Hanssen,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, azM/Mondriaan/Riagg/RIBW/Vijverdal Academic Centre, EURON, Maastricht University, MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • W. Vollebergh,

    1. The Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Trimbos Institute, AS Utrecht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • R. de Graaf,

    1. The Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Trimbos Institute, AS Utrecht, The Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • J. van Os

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, azM/Mondriaan/Riagg/RIBW/Vijverdal Academic Centre, EURON, Maastricht University, MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
    2. Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London, UK
    Search for more papers by this author

Prof. Jim van Os, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616 (DRT 10), 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
E-mail: j.vanos@sp.unimaas.nl

Abstract

Objective: To examine the hypothesis that individuals from the general population who report childhood abuse are at increased risk of developing positive psychotic symptoms.

Method: Data were derived from a general population sample of 4045 subjects aged 18–64 years. First ever onset of positive psychotic symptoms at 2-year follow-up were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview and additional clinical interviews if necessary. Childhood abuse was assessed at baseline.

Results: Baseline reported childhood abuse predicted development of positive psychotic symptoms associated with need for care [odds ratio (OR) = 11.5, 95% CI 2.6–51.6]. This association remained after adjustment for demographic variables, reported risk factors and presence of any lifetime psychiatric diagnosis at baseline (OR = 7.3, 95% CI 1.1–49.0).

Conclusion: The results suggest that early childhood trauma increases the risk for positive psychotic symptoms. This finding fits well with recent models that suggest that early adversities may lead to psychological and biological changes that increase psychosis vulnerability.

Ancillary