, Volume 44, Issue 11, pp 917-923
Date: 31 Mar 2009

Childhood abuse and schizotypal personality

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There is an increasing body of evidence suggesting an association between early adverse events and an increased prevalence of sub-clinical psychotic phenomena. These ‘schizotypal’ beliefs and experiences have been associated with a history of trauma, and are also recognised as a risk factor for the transition to psychosis. However, previous studies have not investigated the associations between specific types of adverse event and the distinct dimensions of such phenomena.


An internet questionnaire produced three groups of participants who had suffered discrete forms of childhood abuse.


Individuals who had suffered physical or sexual abuse exhibited higher levels of paranoia/suspiciousness and unusual perceptual experiences, but not magical thinking. Individuals who had suffered emotional abuse did not show higher scores within any of these three measures of schizotypy.


The results suggest the need for further research to improve the specificity of the identification of individuals who may be at risk of a transition to psychosis.