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High prevalence of childhood trauma in patients with schizophrenia spectrum and affective disorder

Sara Larsson, Ole A. Andreassen, Monica Aas, Jan I. Røssberg, Erlend Mork, Nils E. Steen, Elizabeth A. Barrett, Trine V. Lagerberg, Dawn Peleikis, Ingrid Agartz, Ingrid Melle & Steinar Lorentzen.

Comprehensive Psychiatry

Volume 54, Issue 2, February 2013, Pages 123–127




Childhood trauma (CT) is a major risk factor for various psychiatric disorders. We wanted to determine the prevalence of CT in a catchment area–based sample of schizophrenia spectrum and affective disorder (including bipolar disorder and depressive episodes with psychotic features) and to explore potential differences in types of CT between the diagnostic groups.



Three hundred five patients were recruited consecutively from psychiatric units at 3 major hospitals in Oslo, Norway, diagnosed with Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Traumatic childhood events were assessed with Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.



Eighty-two percent of the patients had experienced one or more CT events, the most frequent subtype of trauma being emotional neglect. The schizophrenia spectrum group reported significantly more physical abuse and physical neglect than the affective group.



A high prevalence of CT in patients with severe mental disorder was detected. This reminds us of the importance of exploring this issue when we treat such patients. The mechanisms behind these differences are unclear. Further research is needed to study potential associations between CT and the clinical picture of the disorder.




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