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Br J Psychiatry. 2014;204:354-60. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.113.127001. Epub 2014 Mar 13.

Daily stressors and negative life events in children at elevated risk of developing schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Alexis E. Cullen, MSc, Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK; Helen L. Fisher, PhD, CPsychol, AFBPsS, MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK; Ruth E. Roberts, MSc, Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK; Carmine M. Pariante, MD, MRCPsych, PhD, Section of Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology & Perinatal Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK; Kristin R. Laurens, PhD, Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK, and Research Unit for Schizophrenia Epidemiology, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, and Schizophrenia Research Institute, Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Psychological stress is implicated in the development of schizophrenia, but little is known about experiences of stress among children at elevated risk for the disorder.

AIMS:

To examine stressor exposure and reactivity in children with different vulnerability profiles for schizophrenia: (a) children presenting multiple antecedents of schizophrenia (ASz group), (b) children with a family history of schizophrenia (FHx group) and (c) typically developing low-risk (TD) children.

METHOD:

Ninety-five children (ASz = 29; FHx = 19; ASz+FHx = 5; TD = 42), identified aged 9-12 years using a community-based screening procedure or as relatives of individuals with schizophrenia, completed questionnaires assessing environmental stressors and psychopathology at age 11-14 years.

RESULTS:

Relative to their typically developing peers, children in the FHx and ASz groups were exposed to a greater number of negative life events and a higher frequency of daily stressors, respectively; and were more distressed by these experiences.

CONCLUSIONS:

Stress exposure and reactivity may constitute useful targets of early intervention for psychosis.

Comment in

PMID:
24627296
DOI:
10.1192/bjp.bp.113.127001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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