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The impact of gender and childhood abuse on age of psychosis onset, psychopathology and needs for care in psychosis patients

The impact of gender and childhood abuse on age of psychosis onset, psychopathology and needs for care in psychosis patients

Schizophrenia Research 210: 164-171

Gender is associated with several features of psychotic disorders, including age of illness onset, symptomatology, a higher prevalence of history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and needs for care. Childhood sexual abuse is associated with adverse mental health consequences but as there is a gender difference in stress reactivity, there may be a differential impact of CSA on psychopathology, age of psychosis onset and needs for care in First Episode Psychosis (FEP) patients. We hypothesized that a history of abuse would be associated with lowering of age of onset, increased symptomatology and more unmet needs in women but not men. A total of 444 FEP patients have been recruited within the context of the GET UP trial. Symptomatology has been assessed using the PANSS scale, needs for care with the CAN scale and childhood abuse with the CECA-Q scale. Childhood sexual abuse was more frequent among female patients [22.6% in women vs 11.6% in men (OR = 0.45, p < 0.01)], whereas there was no gender difference in the prevalence of childhood physical abuse (29.0% in women vs 31.7% in men). Childhood abuse was associated with higher levels of negative symptoms in both men and women, with a reduced age of onset in women only and little increase in needs for care in both men and women. Our results seem to suggest that childhood sexual abuse in female FEP patients may be linked to a more severe form of psychosis whose presentation is characterized by earlier age of onset and higher levels of negative symptoms and we can also speculate that gender-specific protective factors in women, but not in men, may be outweighed by the consequences of childhood abuse.

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Accession: 066089361

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PMID: 30642687

DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2018.12.046

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