Trauma and psychosis symptoms in a sample of help-seeking youth

Emily Kline, Zachary B. Millman, Danielle Denenny, Camille Wilson, Elizabeth Thompson, Caroline Demro, Kay Connors, Kristin Bussell, Gloria Reeves, Jason Schiffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Although childhood trauma is generally considered to be a risk factor for later development of psychosis, the influence of trauma on the specific presentation of psychosis symptoms in high-risk and first-episode samples remains unclear. The current study aims to investigate the association of trauma with psychosis and psychosis-risk symptoms among patients with early indications of psychosis as well as in a comparison group receiving mental health services for non-psychosis concerns. Participants (N = 125) were assessed for history of exposure to trauma using the KSADS-PL and psychosis-risk symptoms using the Structured Interview for Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS). Individuals were categorized as “clinical high risk/early psychosis” or “low-risk for psychosis” on the basis of SIPS criteria. The association of traumatic events with specific symptoms was explored within each group. Exposure to one or more traumatic events was more common within the early psychosis group (85%) relative to the low-risk group (65%). Within both groups, trauma significantly correlated with the severity of clinician-rated positive – but not negative, disorganized, or general – symptoms. Within the low-risk group, there was a significant association between violent traumas and heightened suspiciousness. Within the early psychosis group, both violent and non-violent traumas predicted elevated grandiosity. The prevalence of traumatic events within this adolescent and young adult clinical sample was high. Trauma history significantly predicted greater positive symptoms. The apparent influence of trauma exposure on specific symptoms was unique in each group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-179
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Adolescence
  • Clinical high-risk
  • Prodrome
  • Psychosis
  • Trauma


Dive into the research topics of 'Trauma and psychosis symptoms in a sample of help-seeking youth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this