Gender differences in the relationship of childhood trauma and the course of illness in schizophrenia


•CPA contributes to a less favorable course of illness in schizophrenia in both sexes.
•CPA predicts an earlier age at onset specifically in women.
•General childhood trauma predicts more frequent psychiatric admissions in men.


Different types of childhood trauma have been repeatedly shown to contribute to psychotic symptoms. Gender differences in schizophrenia are well known. Some studies argue that trauma history means a significantly higher risk of psychosis for women than men. However, there is evidence of early adverse life events to be associated with higher stress-sensitivity in men. Little is known about the connection of specific type of trauma and specific psychotic symptoms as well as the course of illness with explicit regard to gender differences.

102 men and women with schizophrenia spectrum disorder were tested using Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Axis I Disorders, Scale for Assessing Positive Symptoms, Early Trauma Inventory-SR.

Although, women had a later age at onset without regarding trauma history (d = 0.74), this difference became non-significant when introducing trauma variables. Patients reporting physical abuse had a significantly earlier age at onset, regardless of their sex (V = 0.13, F = 3.11, p = 0.03. Physical abuse predicted an earlier age at onset only in women (R2 = 0.23). History of general trauma predicted more frequent hospitalizations only in men (R2 = 0.55).

Although women generally tend to have a more favorable course of illness including a later age at onset men, women with CPA seem to lose this “advantage”. It is necessary to investigate the contribution of gender interacting with adverse life events in contribution to the phenomenology and etiology of schizophrenia.


What does CPA stand for?

I’m guessing Childhood physical abuse.

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