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Schizophr Bull. 2007 Jan;33(1):3-10. Epub 2006 Nov 14.

Environment and schizophrenia: environmental factors in schizophrenia: childhood trauma--a critical review.

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Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK.


There is renewed interest in the relationship between early childhood trauma and risk of psychosis in adulthood. There are a large number of studies of psychiatric inpatients, and of outpatients in which a majority have a psychotic disorder, that suggest the prevalence of childhood trauma in these populations is high. However, these are generally small studies of diagnostically heterogeneous and chronic samples and, as such, can tell us very little about whether childhood trauma is of etiological importance in psychosis. A small number of recent population-based studies provide more robust evidence of an association, and there are now plausible biological mechanisms linking childhood trauma and psychosis. However, there remain a number of conceptual and methodological issues, which mean much more research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn about whether childhood trauma is a cause of psychosis.

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