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Schizophr Bull. 2008 Jan;34(1):193-9. Epub 2007 Jun 22.

Cumulative traumas and psychosis: an analysis of the national comorbidity survey and the British Psychiatric Morbidity Survey.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Ulster, Londondderry, Northern Ireland.


Previous research has shown that traumatic life events are associated with a diagnosis of psychosis. Rather than focus on particular events, this study aimed to estimate the effect of cumulative traumatic experiences on psychosis. The study was based on 2 large community samples (The National Comorbidity Survey [NCS], The British Psychiatric Morbidity Survey [BPMS]). All analyses were conducted using hierarchical binary logistic regression, with psychosis diagnosis as the dependent variable. Background demographic variables were included in the first block, in addition to alcohol/drug dependence and depression. A variable indicating the number of traumas experienced was entered in the second block. Experiencing 2 or more trauma types significantly predicted psychosis, and there appeared to be a dose-response type relationship. Particular traumatic experiences have been implicated in the etiology of psychosis. Consistent with previous research, molestation and physical abuse were significant predictors of psychosis using the NCS, whereas for the BPMS, serious injury or assault and violence in the home were statistically significant. This study indicated the added risk of multiple traumatic experiences.

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