Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Childhood Trauma, Psychotic Experiences Show Bidirectional Relationship

Exposure to childhood trauma predicted newly incident psychotic experiences, according to a report appearing online in AJP in Advance. The study, "Childhood Trauma and Psychosis in a Prospective Cohort Study: Cause, Effect, and Directionality," also provides the first direct evidence that cessation of traumatic experiences leads to a reduced incidence of psychotic experiences.

Researchers in the Department of Psychiatry at Ireland's Royal College of Surgeons and other institutions analyzed data from a nationally representative prospective cohort study of 1,112 school-based adolescents aged 13 to 16 who were assessed at baseline and at three-month and 12-month follow-ups for childhood trauma (physical assault and bullying) and psychotic experiences. The researchers found a bidirectional relationship between childhood trauma and psychosis, with trauma predicting psychotic experiences over time and vice versa. A dose-response relationship was observed between severity of bullying and risk for psychotic experiences. Moreover, cessation of trauma predicted cessation of psychotic experiences, with the incidence of psychotic experiences decreasing significantly in individuals whose exposure to trauma ceased over the course of the study.

An abstract of the AJP study is posted here. To read more about treatment of trauma, see Psychiatric News here. For research on the relationship between bullying and mental illness, see Psychiatric News here.

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