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Childhood Trauma, Emotional Abuse, Hallucination, Personality Disorder, Psychosis, Physical Abuse.


Health Research Board Health Professionals Fellowship (HPF-2015-974). Health Research Board Grants (ICE/2012/11 and HRA-PHR-2015-1232).


This article has been published in a revised form in BJPsych Advances. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © copyright holder.


There has been a resurgence of interest in the role of childhood trauma in the aetiology of psychosis. In this review, recent findings on the association between childhood trauma and a continuum of psychotic symptoms are presented. Evidence of the association between specific childhood trauma subtypes and psychotic symptoms is examined, with a brief discussion of some current hypotheses about the potential mechanisms underlying the associations that have been found. Some practice implications of these findings are also highlighted.

Learning Objectives

• Identify findings from recent meta-analyses on the association between childhood trauma and a range of psychotic outcomes, from non-clinical psychotic experiences to psychotic disorders

• Consider which childhood traumas are the most potent in the context of psychotic outcomes

• Recognise that the relationships between childhood trauma, psychotic symptoms and other psychopathology are complex, dynamic and multidimensional


Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychiatry and Psychology


Coughlan H, Cannon M. Does childhood trauma play a role in the aetiology of psychosis? A review of recent evidence. BJPsych Advances. 2017;23(5):307-315

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