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Keywords:

  • childhood trauma;
  • first episode;
  • schizophrenia;
  • Schneiderian signs;
  • ultra high risk for psychosis

Abstract

Aim

Childhood trauma (CT) is more common in patients with psychosis than in general population and is found to be related to the severity of symptoms. The objective of this study was to investigate the severity of CT, and its relationship with clinical features in two different groups: first-episode schizophrenia (FES) and ultra high risk for psychosis (UHR) groups.

Methods

In this cross-sectional study, 83 patients with FES, 41 individuals with UHR and 69 healthy controls were included. Clinical features were evaluated with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms and the Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS). We evaluated CT with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). UHR group was also assessed with the Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia.

Results

The emotional and physical abuse, physical and emotionalneglect subscale scores and CTQ total score of both the UHR group and FES group were higher than the control group. However, the CTQ total score and subscale scores did not differ between FES and UHR groups. UHR group had more Schneiderian symptoms in terms of both number and severity, and severity of sexual abuse was found to be correlated with SAPS scores especially for the ‘commenting voices’ item. The CTQ emotional abuse and neglect scores were correlated with the severity of depression. FES patients with higher CTQ scores obtained higher total scores on SAPS and higher total scores on Schneiderian items.

Conclusion

We found that CT is related to the severity of psychotic symptoms in both FES and UHR groups. Therefore, it is possible that interventions aimed at preventing CT in children would reduce the manifestation of psychosis among young people.