Childhood maltreatment in individuals at risk of psychosis: Results from the Brazilian SSAPP cohort

Elder Lanzani Freitas, Alexandre Andrade Loch, Camille Chianca, Julio Cesar Andrade, Mauricio Henriques Serpa, Tania Maria Alves, Lucas Hortencio, Marcel Tavares Camilo Pinto, Martinus Theodorus van de Bilt, Wagner Farid Gattaz, Wulf Roessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Childhood maltreatment is a known risk factor for the development of mental disorders, such as psychotic symptoms. An extensive body of literature about childhood maltreatment and mental health has been developed in wealthy countries, but information about this connection is lacking in developing countries.

AIMS: To explore a possible relationship between childhood maltreatment and ultra-high risk of psychosis in a non-help-seeking population in a low- and middle-income country.

METHODS: A household survey was conducted in Sao Paulo, Brazil, involving over 2,500 individuals aged 18-30 years who were randomly selected from the general population. The participants underwent screening with the Prodromal Questionnaire. Ultra-high risk status was assessed using the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes, and childhood maltreatment was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. The final sample comprised 87 ultra-high risk individuals and 115 controls.

RESULTS: Childhood maltreatment was significantly more present among ultra-high risk individuals. In ultra-high risk individuals, physical and emotional neglect were inversely related to grandiosity symptoms, physical abuse was related to perceptual abnormalities and physical neglect was related to disorganized speech and thought.

CONCLUSION: This is the first study to investigate the relationship between childhood maltreatment and ultra-high risk status and psychopathological features in a large Latin American sample. Further studies in this field are necessary to better understand the specific influence of various early life adversities on psychosis risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-575
Number of pages10
JournalThe International journal of social psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Childhood maltreatment
  • developing countries
  • psychosis
  • structured interview for prodromal syndromes
  • ultra-high risk


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