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Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Apr;194(4):319-25. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.047985.

Gender differences in the association between childhood abuse and psychosis.

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  • 1PO 80, Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.



Studies demonstrating an association between childhood trauma and psychosis in adulthood have not systematically explored gender differences.


To investigate gender differences in the prevalence of childhood sexual and physical abuse among people with psychosis in comparison with healthy controls.


The Childhood Experiences of Care and Abuse Questionnaire was completed to elicit experiences of sexual and physical abuse during childhood in first-episode psychosis cases and population-based controls.


Among women, those in the cases group were twice as likely to report either physical or sexual abuse compared with controls following adjustment for all confounders. In particular, the effect of physical abuse in women was stronger and more robust than that for sexual abuse. A similar trend was found for psychotic-like experiences in the female control group. No association was found in men.


Reports of severe childhood physical or sexual abuse were associated with psychosis in women but not in men.

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