Association of childhood neglect with adult dissociation in schizophrenic inpatients

Matthias Vogel, Carsten Spitzer, Philipp Kuwert, Bertram Möller, Harald J Freyberger, Hans Jörgen Grabe
Psychopathology 2009, 42 (2): 124-30

BACKGROUND: Dissociation is often related to previous trauma and also occurs frequently in schizophrenia. Dissociation and psychosis may reflect a posttraumatic syndrome in some patients with schizophrenia.

SAMPLING AND METHODS: In total, 80 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia were investigated by means of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), the Dissociative Experience Scale and the Symptom Check List 90-R. CTQ subscales and groups reporting high and low dissociation were compared using MANOVA.

RESULTS: Childhood traumatic experiences were frequent [mean CTQ total score=45.4+/-17.5 (SD)]. Physical neglect was clearly associated with high dissociation, whereas abuse was not. Furthermore, there was a significant association of physical neglect with psychopathological distress not fully accounted for by dissociation.

CONCLUSIONS: Dissociation may be specifically linked to childhood physical neglect in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Dissociation alone may not explain the effects of childhood maltreatment on adult psychopathology in schizophrenia; however, conclusions from the present study are limited due to its cross-sectional design.

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