The relationship between childhood trauma and neuropsychological functioning in first episode psychosis

Clodagh Campbell, Suzanne Barrett, Ciaran Shannon, Katrina Hoy, Teresa Rushe, Stephen Cooper, Ciaran Mulholland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


There is an overlap between the neurocognitive deficits observed in adult survivors of childhood trauma and individuals with psychosis. Few studies examine the relationship between trauma and neurocognition in psychosis. The purpose of this study was to examine this in a first episode population. Thirty individuals with first episode psychosis who had completed a battery of neurocognitive testing in the longitudinal Northern Ireland First Episode Psychosis Study were subsequently interviewed and separated into two groups on the basis of childhood trauma. Between groups analysis was used to compare differences on measures of memory, executive functioning and verbal fluency. Twenty-one (70%) participants reported childhood trauma and nine (30%) reported no such history. Participants with a history of childhood trauma had a significantly higher pre-morbid IQ than the no childhood trauma group and experienced a significant decline in IQ when pre-morbid IQ estimates were compared to current IQ estimates. After controlling for pre-morbid IQ on all domains, the childhood trauma group had significantly poorer performance on tasks of semantic fluency, delayed visual recall, and visuospatial working memory. Childhood trauma may contribute to specific neurocognitive deficits and may predict a lower level of functioning relative to pre-morbid ability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalPsychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches
Issue number1
Early online date08 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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