Childhood trauma and increased stress sensitivity in psychosis
Article first published online: 15 AUG 2010
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 123, Issue 1, pages 28–35, January 2011
How to Cite
Lardinois, M., Lataster, T., Mengelers, R., Van Os, J. and Myin-Germeys, I. (2011), Childhood trauma and increased stress sensitivity in psychosis. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 123: 28–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01594.x
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 15 AUG 2010
- Accepted for publication July 2, 2010
- Psychological stress;
- child abuse;
- psychotic disorders;
- experience sampling
Lardinois M, Lataster T, Mengelers R, van Os J, Myin-Germeys I. Childhood trauma and increased stress sensitivity in psychosis.
Objective: The notion that traumatic experiences in childhood may predict later psychotic outcomes would be strengthened if a plausible mechanism could be demonstrated. Because increased stress sensitivity is part of the behavioural expression of psychosis liability, the possible mediating role of childhood trauma was investigated.
Method: Fifty patients with psychosis were studied with the experience sampling method to assess stress reactivity in daily life, defined as emotional and psychotic reactivity to stress. Traumatic experiences in childhood were assessed with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.
Results: A significant interaction was found between stress and CT on both negative affect (event stress: β = 0.04, P < 0.04; activity stress: β = 0.12, P < 0.001) and psychotic intensity (event stress: β = 0.06, P < 0.001; activity stress: β = 0.11, P < 0.001), showing that a history of CT is associated with increased sensitivity to stress.
Conclusion: A history of childhood trauma in patients with psychosis is associated with increased stress reactivity later in life, suggestive for an underlying process of behavioural sensitization.