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Impact of psychological trauma on the development of psychotic symptoms: relationship with psychosis proneness

  • Janneke Spauwen (a1), Lydia Krabbendam (a1), Roselind Lieb (a2), Hans-Ulrich Wittchen (a3) and Jim Van Os (a4)...

Abstract

Background

The reported link between psychological trauma and onset of psychosis remains controversial.

Aims

To examine associations between self-reported psychological trauma and psychotic symptoms as a function of prior evidence of vulnerability to psychosis (psychosis proneness).

Method

At baseline, 2524 adolescents aged 14–24 years provided self-reports on psychological trauma and psychosis proneness, and at follow-up (on average 42 months later) participants were interviewed for presence of psychotic symptoms.

Results

Self-reported trauma was associated with psychotic symptoms, in particular at more severe levels (adjusted OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.16–3.08) and following trauma associated with intense fear, helplessness or horror. The risk difference between those with and without self-reported trauma at baseline was 7% in the group with baseline psychosis proneness, but only 1.8% in those without (adjusted test for difference between these two effect sizes: χ2=4.6, P=0.032).

Conclusions

Exposure to psychological trauma may increase the risk of psychotic symptoms in people vulnerable to psychosis.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor Jim van Os, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616 (DRT 10), 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 43 3875443; fax: +31 43 3875444; e-mail: j.vanos@sp.unimaas.nl

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Impact of psychological trauma on the development of psychotic symptoms: relationship with psychosis proneness

  • Janneke Spauwen (a1), Lydia Krabbendam (a1), Roselind Lieb (a2), Hans-Ulrich Wittchen (a3) and Jim Van Os (a4)...
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