The prevalence and correlates of trauma-related symptoms in schizophrenia spectrum disorder

Paul H Lysaker, Valerie A Larocco
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2008, 49 (4): 330-4
Research has suggested that many with schizophrenia have been exposed to significant trauma, both after and before the onset of their illness. Less clear is how commonly significant levels of trauma symptoms are found in schizophrenia, how often they co-occur, and what their relationship is with positive and negative symptoms. To examine these issues, we concurrently assessed trauma history, trauma symptoms using the Trauma Symptom Inventory, and symptoms using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. Participants were 68 individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders who provided reliable reports of at least one traumatic event from an original sample of 81 individuals. Results revealed that two thirds of participants reported clinically significant trauma symptoms that included at least intrusive experiences, defensive avoidance, or dissociation. Greater levels of depression and disturbance of volition were significantly correlated with greater levels of anxious arousal, intrusive experiences, defensive avoidance, dissociation, and total number of significantly elevated trauma scales. Delusions were correlated with intrusive experiences, dissociation, and number of significantly elevated trauma scales, whereas hallucinations were correlated with irritability and total number of significantly elevated trauma scales. Results suggest that trauma symptoms may be commonly experienced in schizophrenia and linked with the phenomenology of the disorder.


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