College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Impact of Child Abuse Timing and Family Environment on Psychosis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Keywords

Child Abuse, PTSD, Psychosis

Publication Title

Journal of Psychological Trauma

ISSN

1932-2887

Volume

6

Issue/No.

2-3

Abstract

The theoretical basis for the development of differential psychopathology in children in response to a traumatic event suggests the timing of trauma and the family environment likely influence the development of psychological disturbances. We predicted that abused children who had psychotic symptoms would have experienced the trauma earlier in life than those children diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We also predicted that children with psychotic symptoms would hail from homes higher in cohesion and family conflict than those children with PTSD. Participants were 40 children, ages 6 to 17, and their mothers. All children were receiving treatment at a community mental health center, and were diagnosed with either posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; n = 20) or a psychotic based disorder (n = 20). Results indicated that children with psychotic disorders experienced trauma earlier than children with PTSD (p < .02). Children with psychotic disorders reported more familial conflict (p < .04) than those children with PTSD. When compared to mothers of children with PTSD, mothers of psychotic children rated their family as less cohesive (p < .03). Implications of this research were discussed.

DOI

10.1300/J513v06n02_05