Date: 22 November 2018
Researchers supported by the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre have found further evidence to suggest that trauma in childhood could increase the risk of psychotic experiences at 18 years old.
The findings, published in JAMA Psychiatry, are the first to comprehensively examine the association between different types of trauma, and their timing in childhood, with later psychotic experiences using a large population study.
Psychotic experiences include abnormal experiences such as hearing voices or feelings of paranoia.
The researchers at the University of Bristol used the Children of the 90s longitudinal dataset to examine 4,433 people who had clinical interviews and attended clinics at the age of 18.
They found that between 25 and 60 per cent of the young people who had reported psychotic experiences (five per cent of the sample) had been exposed to trauma such as bullying, domestic violence or emotional neglect as a child.
Researcher Jazz Croft, a PhD student at the University of Bristol Centre for Academic Mental Health, said: “The findings support that routine screening for psychotic experiences in children or young people exposed to trauma, particularly those exposed to frequent occurrences, should be considered as a way of preventing later mental health problems. Understanding how trauma leads to psychotic experiences could lead to the development of more novel treatments for psychosis.”
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