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Deconstructing vulnerability for psychosis: Meta-analysis of environmental risk factors for psychosis in subjects at ultra high-risk

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Paolo Fusar-Poli, V. Ramella-Cravaro, Dom Oliver, J. Kingdon, M Kotlicka-Antczak , L. Valmaggia, J Lee, M J Millan, S Galderisi, U Balottin, V Ricca, P. McGuire

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-75
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Early online date15 Sep 2016
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


King's Authors


Background Subjects at ultra high-risk (UHR) for psychosis have an enhanced vulnerability to develop the disorder but the risk factors accounting for this accrued risk are undetermined. Method Systematic review of associations between genetic or environmental risk factors for psychosis that are widely established in the literature and UHR state, based on comparisons to controls. Results Forty-four studies encompassing 170 independent datasets and 54 risk factors were included. There were no studies on association between genetic or epigenetic risk factors and the UHR state that met the inclusion criteria. UHR subjects were more likely to show obstetric complications, tobacco use, physical inactivity, childhood trauma/emotional abuse/physical neglect, high perceived stress, childhood and adolescent low functioning, affective comorbidities, male gender, single status, unemployment and low educational level as compared to controls. Conclusions The increased vulnerability of UHR subjects can be related to environmental risk factors like childhood trauma, adverse life events and affective dysfunction. The role of genetic and epigenetic risk factors awaits clarification.

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