Traumatic brain injury in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis


Recent research suggests that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can significantly increase the risk of later development of psychosis. However, it is unknown whether people at clinical high risk (CHR) of psychosis have experienced TBI at higher rates, compared to otherwise healthy individuals. This study evaluated the prevalence of mild TBI, whether it was related to past trauma and the relationship of mild TBI to later transition to psychosis.

Seven-hundred forty-seven CHR and 278 healthy controls (HC) were assessed on past history of mild TBI, age at first and last injury, severity of worst injury and number of injuries using the Traumatic Brain Injury Interview. Attenuated psychotic symptoms were assessed with the Scale of Psychosis-risk Symptoms. IQ was estimated using the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence and past trauma and bullying were recorded using the Childhood Trauma and Abuse Scale.

CHR participants experienced a mild TBI more often than the HC group. CHR participants who had experienced a mild TBI reported greater total trauma and bullying scores than those who had not, and those who experienced a mild TBI and later made the transition to psychosis were significantly younger at the age at first and most recent injury than those who did not.


A history of mild TBI is more frequently observed in CHR individuals than in HC. Inclusion or study of CHR youth with more severe TBI may provide additional insights on the relationship between TBI and later transition to psychosis in CHR individuals.

Clinical high risk, Psychosis, Traumatic brain injury

Guess the cards where stacked against me. I had a TBI when I was 11. Developed psychosis/schizophrenia at 14.

As someone with a TBI and psychosis, I would guess a big part of the puzzle is that TBIs usually happen in terrifying ways that leave a lasting emotional impact. People with any traumatic event are more likely to develop psychosis.