Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Child Abuse Ups Odds of Psychosis as Adult

Young people who were forced to have sex before age 16 were 10 times more likely than others to develop psychosis as adults, a new study finds.

“We found a strong association of psychosis with childhood sexual abuse, particularly when it involved sexual intercourse,” wrote Paul Bebbington, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry at the Royal Free and University College Medical School in London, and colleagues in the July British Journal of Psychiatry.

The researchers drew on a sample of 7,353 people from the adult population of England in 2007. They asked respondents if anyone had ever talked to them in an unpleasant sexual way, touched them sexually without their consent, or had sexual intercourse with them without consent. Non-consensual sexual intercourse was strongly associated with later psychosis, although Bebbington noted that the study design could not determine causation. They found no link between cannabis use and psychosis in this group, unlike some previous researchers.

Read more about the relationship between child abuse and mental illness in Psychiatric News at


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