Adverse childhood experiences and hallucinations

Child Abuse Negl. 2005 Jul;29(7):797-810. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.01.004.


Objective: Little information is available about the contribution of multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) to the likelihood of reporting hallucinations. We used data from the ACE study to assess this relationship.

Methods: We conducted a survey about childhood abuse and household dysfunction while growing up, with questions about health behaviors and outcomes in adulthood, which was completed by 17,337 adult HMO members in order to assess the independent relationship of 8 adverse childhood experiences and the total number of ACEs (ACE score) to experiencing hallucinations. We used logistic regression to assess the relationship of the ACE score to self-reported hallucinations.

Results: We found a statistically significant and graded relationship between histories of childhood trauma and histories of hallucinations that was independent of a history of substance abuse. Compared to persons with 0 ACEs, those with 7 or more ACEs had a five-fold increase in the risk of reporting hallucinations.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that a history of childhood trauma should be looked for among persons with a history of hallucinations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / epidemiology
  • Hallucinations / etiology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychopathology