Evidence is accumulating that childhood trauma might be associated with higher severity of positive symptoms in patients with psychosis and higher incidence of psychotic experiences in non-clinical populations. However, it remains unknown whether the history of childhood trauma might be associated with particular types of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH).
We assessed childhood trauma using the Early Trauma Inventory Self-Report - Short Form (ETISR-SF) in 94 first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients. Lifetime psychopathology was evaluated using the Operational Criteria for Psychotic Illness (OPCRIT) checklist, while symptoms on the day of assessment were examined using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Based on ETISR-SF, patients were divided into those with and without the history of childhood trauma: FES(+) and FES(-) patients.
FES(+) patients had significantly higher total number of AVH types and Schneiderian first-rank AVH as well as significantly higher PANSS P3 item score (hallucinatory behavior) in comparison with FES(-) patients. They experienced significantly more frequently third person AVH and abusive/accusatory/persecutory voices. These differences remained significant after controlling for education, PANSS depression factor score and chlorpromazine equivalent. Linear regression analysis revealed that the total number of AVH types was predicted by sexual abuse score after controlling for above mentioned confounders. This effect was significant only in females.
Our results indicate that the history of childhood trauma, especially sexual abuse, is associated with higher number AVH in females but not in males. Third person AVH and abusive/accusatory/persecutory voices, representing Schneiderian first-rank symptoms, might be particularly related to childhood traumatic events.