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Home > Childhood sexual trauma, cannabis use and psychosis: statistically controlling for pre-trauma psychosis and psychopathology.

Murphy, Jamie and Houston, James Edward and Shevlin, Mark and Adamson, Gary (2013) Childhood sexual trauma, cannabis use and psychosis: statistically controlling for pre-trauma psychosis and psychopathology. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 48, pp. 853-861. DOI 10.1007/s00127-012-0592-8.

PURPOSE: Recurring evidence seems to suggest that sexual trauma in childhood may moderate associations between cannabis consumption and psychosis. It has also been suggested, however, that poor childhood mental health may explain linkages between these phenomena.

METHODS: The current study, using data from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (N = 2,355), sought to revaluate the stability of the childhood trauma-cannabis interaction while statistically controlling for pre-trauma psychotic experiences and psychopathology in childhood.

RESULTS: Psychotic experiences that occurred before childhood sexual trauma significantly influenced adult psychosis symptomatology (psychosis pre-rape B = 0.10; psychosis pre-sexual assault B = 0.23). Social phobia (B = 0.07) also conferred risk for adult psychosis. Pre-trauma childhood psychopathology, however, did not account for the interaction between childhood sexual trauma and cannabis consumption in a multivariate model. Childhood experiences of rape (B = 0.15) and an interaction between cannabis use and childhood sexual assault (B = 0.05) independently contributed to adult psychosis. Cannabis use conferred no independent risk.

CONCLUSIONS: With specific regard to research methodology, the current findings offer further justification for the inclusion of childhood sexual trauma in analyses investigating associations between cannabis use and psychosis.


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