29 March 2012
Evidence suggests that adverse experiences in childhood are associated with psychosis. To examine the association between childhood adversity and trauma (sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse, neglect, parental death, and bullying) and psychosis outcome, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, and Web of Science were searched from January 1980 through November 2011. We included prospective cohort studies, large-scale cross-sectional studies investigating the association between childhood adversity and psychotic symptoms or illness, case-control studies comparing the prevalence of adverse events between psychotic patients and controls using dichotomous or continuous measures, and case-control studies comparing the prevalence of psychotic symptoms between exposed and nonexposed subjects using dichotomous or continuous measures of adversity and psychosis. The analysis included 18 case-control studies ( n = 2048 psychotic patients and 1856 nonpsychiatric controls), 10 prospective and quasi-prospective studies ( n = 41 803) and 8 population-based cross-sectional studies ( n = 35 546). There were significant associations between adversity and psychosis across all research designs, with an overall effect of OR = 2.78 (95% CI = 2.34–3.31). The integration of the case-control studies indicated that patients with psychosis were 2.72 times more likely to have been exposed to childhood adversity than controls (95% CI = 1.90–3.88). The association between childhood adversity and psychosis was also significant in population-based cross-sectional studies (OR = 2.99 [95% CI = 2.12–4.20]) as well as in prospective and quasi-prospective studies (OR = 2.75 [95% CI = 2.17–3.47]). The estimated population attributable risk was 33% (16%–47%). These findings indicate that childhood adversity is strongly associated with increased risk for psychosis.