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Review
, 49, 92-105

Trauma and the Psychosis Spectrum: A Review of Symptom Specificity and Explanatory Mechanisms

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Review

Trauma and the Psychosis Spectrum: A Review of Symptom Specificity and Explanatory Mechanisms

Lauren E Gibson et al. Clin Psychol Rev.

Abstract

Traumatic life events have been robustly associated with various psychosis outcomes, including increased risk of psychotic disorders, the prodrome of psychosis, and dimensional measures of psychotic symptoms, such as attenuated positive psychotic symptoms. However, trauma exposure has been linked to various mental disorders; therefore, the specificity of trauma exposure to psychosis remains unclear. This review focuses on two understudied areas of the trauma and psychosis literature: 1) the specificity between trauma and psychosis in relation to other disorders that often result post-trauma, and 2) proposed mechanisms that uniquely link trauma to psychosis. We begin by discussing the underlying connection between trauma exposure and the entire psychosis spectrum with a focus on the influence of trauma type and specific psychotic symptoms. We then consider how the principles of multifinality and equifinality can be useful in elucidating the trauma-psychosis relationship versus the trauma-other disorder relationship. Next, we discuss several cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms that might uniquely account for the association between trauma and psychosis, as well as the role of gender. Lastly, we review important methodological issues that complicate the research on trauma and psychosis, ending with clinical implications for the field.

Keywords: Adversity; Psychosis; Schizophrenia; Trauma.

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