Severe abuse in childhood may treble risk of schizophrenia – Research links sexual, physical and emotional abuse, school bullying and parental neglect to schizophrenia in adulthood – Alok Jha, science correspondent guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 18 April 2012
Children who experience severe forms of abuse are around three times as likely to develop schizophrenia and related psychoses in later life compared with children who do not experience such abuse, according to a study that has brought together psychiatric data from almost 80,000 people.
The results add to a growing body of evidence that childhood maltreatment or abuse can raise the risk of developing mental illnesses in adulthood, including depression, personality disorders and anxiety.
Prof Richard Bentall of the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, who led the study, showed that the risk of developing psychosis increased in line with the amount of abuse or trauma a child had gone through, with the most severely affected children having a 50-fold increased risk compared with children who had suffered no abuse. He also showed that the type of trauma experienced in childhood affected the subsequent psychiatric symptoms later in life….
Bentall’s team analysed 36 published studies that contained data on childhood maltreatment (including sexual, physical and emotional abuse, death of a parent, school bullying and neglect) and psychiatric symptoms in almost 80,000 people, collected over the course of 30 years. People who experienced these types of trauma in childhood were between 2.7 and 3 times as likely to develop schizophrenia as adults, the team found. The research is published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin….
The latest results add to recent evidence that childhood abuse can lead to serious problems in later life. In 2011, scientists at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London found that people with a history of abuse or maltreatment during childhood were more than twice as likely to have recurrent episodes of depression in adulthood and also 43% more likely to experience a poor outcome when it came to psychological or drug-based treatment. They examined data from 16 epidemiological studies involving more than 23,000 people in total and 10 clinical trials involving more than 3,000 people
The mechanisms behind the link between childhood maltreatment and schizophrenia are not yet understood. Earlier this year, psychiatrists at Harvard University found that being sexually or emotionally abused as a child correlated with reduced volumes of three important areas of the hippocampus, which is involved in the control of memory and regulation of emotions. Volumes were reduced by up to 6.5%. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/apr/18/severe-abuse-childhood-risk-schizophrenia
Childhood Adversities Increase the Risk of Psychosis: A Meta-analysis of Patient-Control, Prospective- and Cross-sectional Cohort Studies
Filippo Varese, Feikje Smeets, Marjan Drukker, Ritsaert Lieverse, Tineke Lataster, Wolfgang Viechtbauer, John Read, Jim van Os and Richard P. Bentall
Evidence suggests that adverse experiences in childhood are associated with psychosis. To examine the association between childhood adversity and trauma (sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, parental death, and bullying) and psychosis outcome, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, and Web of Science were searched from January 1980 through November 2011. We included prospective cohort studies, large-scale cross-sectional studies investigating the association between childhood adversity and psychotic symptoms or illness, case-control studies comparing the prevalence of adverse events between psychotic patients and controls using dichotomous or continuous measures, and case-control studies comparing the prevalence of psychotic symptoms between exposed and nonexposed subjects using dichotomous or continuous measures of adversity and psychosis. The analysis included 18 case-control studies (n = 2048 psychotic patients and 1856 nonpsychiatric controls), 10 prospective and quasi-prospective studies (n = 41?803) and 8 population-based cross-sectional studies (n = 35?546). There were significant associations between adversity and psychosis across all research designs, with an overall effect of OR = 2.78 (95% CI = 2.34–3.31). The integration of the case-control studies indicated that patients with psychosis were 2.72 times more likely to have been exposed to childhood adversity than controls (95% CI = 1.90–3.88). The association between childhood adversity and psychosis was also significant in population-based cross-sectional studies (OR = 2.99 [95% CI = 2.12–4.20]) as well as in prospective and quasi-prospective studies (OR = 2.75 [95% CI = 2.17–3.47]). The estimated population attributable risk was 33% (16%–47%). These findings indicate that childhood adversity is strongly associated with increased risk for psychosis.http://schizophreniabulletin.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/28/schbul.sbs050
The 30-60% overlap of child maltreatment and domestic violence in families indicates a need for child protection policy and practice that reflects this co-occurrence. In 2009, the NRCCPS collaborated with the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) to publish Child and Family Service Review Outcomes: Strategies to Improve Domestic Violence Responses in CFSR Program Improvement Plans to help child protection agencies develop and implement policy and best practice respond to the need for improving and deepening the child pro identified in the CFSR process. http://nrccps.org/special-initiatives/domestic-violence/