Patterns of lifetime female victimisation and psychotic experiences: a study based on the UK Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007

  • Mark ShevlinEmail author
  • Tara O’Neill
  • James E. Houston
  • John Read
  • Richard P. Bentall
  • Jamie Murphy
Original Paper



Research has shown that sexual trauma represents a specific threat for psychosis, particularly among females. Sexual trauma among females, however, has also been shown to enhance the risk for further revictimisation. Females are likely to exhibit distinct lifetime trauma profiles, i.e. female sexual trauma victims are often more likely to experience particular forms of re-victimisation, such as intimate partner and domestic violence.


This study used data from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (2007) to profile lifetime histories of sexual trauma and domestic violence among female participants (N = 4,111).


The latent class analysis revealed four lifetime victimisation classes: (i) a multiple victimisation class; (ii) an intimate partner victimisation class; (iii) a sexual victimisation class; and (iv) a victimisation-free class. Multivariate logistic regression revealed that there was a strong association between class membership and a diagnosis of psychosis and that the victimisation classes were significantly associated with all psychotic-like experiences. Compared to the victimisation-free class, the multiple victimisation class displayed an increased likelihood of experiencing all psychotic experiences except mania. The intimate partner victimisation class was also associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing all psychotic experiences; however, the odds ratios for this class were lower than those recorded for the multiple victimisation class.


These findings reflect female-specific variation in both victimisation history and psychosis-related vulnerability. Acknowledging such sex-specific variation may advance our understanding of the complex associations that continue to emerge between trauma and psychosis for both males and females.


Psychosis Female victimisation Sexual trauma Latent class analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Shevlin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tara O’Neill
    • 1
  • James E. Houston
    • 2
  • John Read
    • 3
  • Richard P. Bentall
    • 4
  • Jamie Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of Ulster at MageeLondonderryUK
  2. 2.Nottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK
  3. 3.The University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  4. 4.Liverpool UniversityLiverpoolUK

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