Sex differences in the association between childhood adversities and schizotypal personality traits

Diamantis Toutountzidis, Tim M. Gale, Karen Irvine, Shivani Sharma, Keith R. Laws

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Patients with psychosis report higher levels of adverse events in childhood. This relationship has not been extensively examined in healthy individuals who score highly on schizotypal personality traits. This study examined the association between different childhood traumas and psychosis-like traits in a general population sample, as well as differences in those links between men and women. Participants completed an online survey including measures of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and schizotypal personality traits. Results showed that the experience of emotional abuse was associated with a range of both positive and negative psychosis-like traits in both sexes. Sex differences emerged in the association between physical abuse and schizotypal personality traits. Although men reported more physical abuse in early life than women, this type of trauma was only associated with schizotypal traits in women and not in men. Additionally, women scored higher than men in sexual abuse; however, sexual abuse did not explicitly predict any schizotypal traits in the presence of the other two types of abuse. A simple linear or dose-response relationship between different types of trauma and psychosis-like traits was not supported. The importance of emotional abuse on schizotypy was highlighted in both sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number11
Early online date13 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Childhood abuse
  • Early trauma
  • Psychological stress
  • Psychosis-like symptoms
  • Schizotypal personality traits


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