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Childhood adversity and psychotic disorders: Epidemiological evidence, theoretical models and clinical considerations

Published: 28 June 2021

Abstract: While genetic factors play a critical role in the risk for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, increasing evidence points to the role of childhood adversity as one of several environmental factors that can significantly impact the development, manifestations and outcome of these disorders. This paper reviews the epidemiological evidence linking childhood adversity and psychotic disorders and explores various theoretical models that seek to explain the connection. We discuss neurobiological parallels between the impact of childhood trauma and psychosis on the brain and then explore the impact of childhood adversity on different domains of clinical presentation. Finally, implications for prevention and treatment are considered, both on individual and structural levels.
Keywords: Schizophrenia / Psychotic disorders / Childhood adversity / Adverse Childhood Experiences

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