• adolescence;
  • psychosis;
  • development;
  • trauma;
  • parental psychopathology

Wigman JTW, van Winkel R, Ormel J, Verhulst FC, van Os J, Vollebergh WAM. Early trauma and familial risk in the development of the extended psychosis phenotype in adolescence.

Objective:  Both genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development of psychotic outcomes; however, their respective contributions over time, including possible developmental interactions, remain largely unknown.

Method:  The contribution of parental general and psychotic psychopathology as proxies of genetic risk to the development of subthreshold psychosis and its hypothesized interaction with childhood trauma were studied in a general population sample of 2230 adolescents, followed from age 10–16 years. Outcome measures were: i) level of psychotic experiences at age 16 years and ii) persistence of such experiences over the total follow-up period.

Results:  General parental psychopathology was associated with CAPE score (OR = 1.08; < 0.043 for highest quintile) and suggestively predicted psychosis persistence (OR, 1.16; < 0.072). Psychotic parental psychopathology was suggestively associated with CAPE score (OR, 2.25; < 0.063 for highest quintile), predicted membership of the Persistent group (OR, 3.72; < 0.039) and suggestively predicted membership of the Decreasing group (OR 2.04; < 0.051). Childhood trauma was associated with CAPE score and with all developmental trajectories of subclinical psychosis. No evidence was found for an interaction between trauma and parental psychopathology.

Conclusion:  The development and persistence of subthreshold psychotic symptoms may be conditional on non-interacting proxy genetic and environmental influences.