Associations between childhood victimization, inflammatory biomarkers and psychotic phenomena in adolescence: a longitudinal cohort study.

Antonella Trotta, Louise Arseneault, Andrea Danese, Valeria Mondelli, Line Jee Hartmann Rasmussen, Helen Fisher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Exposure to victimization in childhood has been linked to the development of psychosis. However, little is known about how childhood victimization is translated into biological risk for psychosis. One possibility is via increased inflammation. This study aimed to investigate the association between childhood victimization, psychotic experiences (PEs) in adolescence and inflammatory markers using data from a general population cohort. Participants were 1,419 British-born children followed from birth to age 18 years as part of the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study. Childhood victimization was measured prospectively using multiple sources from birth to age 12 years. PEs were assessed during private interviews with participants at age 18 years for the period since age 12. Plasma C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) levels were measured from plasma samples collected from participants at 18 years. Young people with both PEs and childhood victimization were more likely to belong to a group with elevated suPAR, CRP and IL-6 levels at 18 years of age (OR = 3.34, 95% CI 1.69–6.59, p = 0.001) than those with no childhood victimization and without PEs. However, this association was attenuated when adjusted for other risk factors for elevated inflammation at age 18 (OR = 1.94, 95% CI 0.94–4.04, p = 0.075). In contrast, presence of PEs without childhood victimization was not significantly associated with age-18 inflammatory markers and neither was childhood victimization without PEs (all p's greater than 0.05). The current study highlights that inflammatory dysregulation is mostly present in adolescents reporting PEs who also experienced childhood victimization, though this seemed to be largely due to concurrent inflammation-related risk factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-85
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Behavior and Immunity
Early online date11 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


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