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The childhood experiences of people with psychosis

Osler, Paul; (1999) The childhood experiences of people with psychosis. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy.), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Previous research has shown that adverse childhood experiences such as sexual and physical abuse are more common in people with psychiatric disorders such as depression than in the normal population. Very few studies have looked at the prevalence of child abuse in the psychotic population, but the small number of studies in this area appear to indicate a high prevalence of childhood sexual and physical abuse within this group. However these studies have not used a control group. Furthermore recent psychological approaches to the symptoms of psychosis have suggested that psychotic symptoms may serve a defensive function. It has been speculated that the use of such defences may be a result of the early childhood environment. The present study examined the childhood experiences of a group of 30 people with psychosis in comparison to a group of controls, consisting of 30 people with arthritis. Participants were recruited from a number of settings. Individuals were questioned about their childhood experiences, including their relationship with their parents and any physical or sexual abuse they may have experienced. All participants also completed questionnaires measuring psychotic or schizotypal symptoms. Comparisons of childhood experiences were made between the two groups. Furthermore, the comparisons were made between each group's scores on psychotic or schizotypal symptom ratings and their scores on the measure of childhood experiences. In general, differences between the two groups were not significant and there were few significant relationships within the groups between symptom measures and childhood experiences. Those findings that were significant are discussed, along with the implications of the non-significant findings. Methodological issues are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy.
Title: The childhood experiences of people with psychosis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Psychosis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099216
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