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Early traumatic experiences in those at clinical high risk for psychosis


Corresponding author: Dr Jean Addington, Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education, University of Calgary, 3280 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4Z6. Email:



Several lines of evidence suggest a possible association between a history of trauma in childhood and later psychosis or psychotic-like experiences. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of childhood trauma and bullying in young people at clinical high risk (CHR) of developing psychosis.


The sample consisted of 360 individuals who were at CHR of developing psychosis and 180 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. All participants were assessed on past trauma and bullying. The CHR participants were also assessed on a range of psychopathology and functioning.


Individuals at CHR reported significantly more trauma and bullying than healthy controls. Those who had experienced past trauma and bullying were more likely to have increased levels of depression and anxiety and a poorer sense of self.


These results offer preliminary support for an association between a history of trauma and later subthreshold symptoms.