Childhood trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia: a literature review with theoretical and clinical implications
Version of Record online: 12 OCT 2005
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 112, Issue 5, pages 330–350, November 2005
How to Cite
Read, J., van Os, J., Morrison, A. P. and Ross, C. A. (2005), Childhood trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia: a literature review with theoretical and clinical implications. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 112: 330–350. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2005.00634.x
- Issue online: 12 OCT 2005
- Version of Record online: 12 OCT 2005
- Accepted for publication August 19, 2005
- child abuse;
- literature review
Objective: To review the research addressing the relationship of childhood trauma to psychosis and schizophrenia, and to discuss the theoretical and clinical implications.
Method: Relevant studies and previous review papers were identified via computer literature searches.
Results: Symptoms considered indicative of psychosis and schizophrenia, particularly hallucinations, are at least as strongly related to childhood abuse and neglect as many other mental health problems. Recent large-scale general population studies indicate the relationship is a causal one, with a dose-effect.
Conclusion: Several psychological and biological mechanisms by which childhood trauma increases risk for psychosis merit attention. Integration of these different levels of analysis may stimulate a more genuinely integrated bio-psycho-social model of psychosis than currently prevails. Clinical implications include the need for staff training in asking about abuse and the need to offer appropriate psychosocial treatments to patients who have been abused or neglected as children. Prevention issues are also identified.