The Association Between Childhood Trauma and Memory Functioning in Schizophrenia

Ciaran Shannon, Kate Douse, Chris McCusker, Lorraine Feeney, Suzanne Barrett, Ciaran Mulholland

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67 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: Both neurocognitive impairments and a history of childhood abuse are highly prevalent in patients with schizophrenia. Childhood trauma has been associated with memory impairment as well as hippocampal volume reduction in adult survivors. The aim of the following study was to examine the contribution of childhood adversity to verbal memory functioning in people with schizophrenia. Methods: Eighty-five outpatients with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) diagnosis of chronic schizophrenia were separated into 2 groups on the basis of self-reports of childhood trauma. Performance on measures of episodic narrative memory, list learning, and working memory was then compared using multivariate analysis of covariance. Results: Thirty-eight (45%) participants reported moderate to severe levels of childhood adversity, while 47 (55%) reported no or low levels of childhood adversity. After controlling for premorbid IQ and current depressive symptoms, the childhood trauma group had significantly poorer working memory and episodic narrative memory. However, list learning was similar between groups. Conclusion: Childhood trauma is an important variable that can contribute to specific ongoing memory impairments in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-537
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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