Australian Study: Childhood Maltreatment Linked to Psychosis Admissions

Among those who experienced childhood maltreatment, child sexual abuse was most strongly connected to the development of psychosis.


A recent study published in Schizophrenia Research has found a correlation between childhood maltreatment and inpatient admission for psychosis in Australia.

The research, conducted by Steve Kisley from the University of Queensland, utilized administrative health data on inpatient admissions and state agency data on reported and substantiated instances of child maltreatment (CM). Unlike other research studies that rely on participants’ memories, this work is less likely to be affected by recall bias.

The authors write:

“On adjusted analysis, all notified and substantiated types of CM were associated with admissions for non-affective psychosis. This included neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, as well as notifications for multiple CM types.”

The study found a clear correlation between various forms of substantiated CM, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse as well as neglect, and increased rates of inpatient admissions for non-affective psychosis. The study bolsters the arguments for social, environmental, and trauma-based frameworks in understanding psychosis and ‘severe mental illness.’ It offers a compelling alternative to genetic and neurobiological explanations, often dominating psychiatric discourse.

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