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The Experience of Childhood Trauma and Its Influence on the Course of Illness in First-Episode Psychosis: A Qualitative Study

Jansen, Jens Einar PhD; Pedersen, Marlene Buch MA; Trauelsen, Anne Marie MD; Lyse Nielsen, Hanne-Grethe PH; Haahr, Ulrik Helt MD; Simonsen, Erik MD, PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: March 2016 - Volume 204 - Issue 3 - p 210–216
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000449
Original Articles
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Persons with schizophrenia spectrum disorders often report high levels of childhood trauma, which often exacerbates symptoms and impede the process of recovery. However, little is known about how these traumas are experienced by service users and how they are integrated in their life stories. To examine this, we conducted in-depth interviews with 15 service users with a diagnosis of a first-episode nonaffective psychosis who had reported 1 or more childhood traumas in self-report measures. There was an unexpected discrepancy between the number of traumas reported in self-report measures and in semistructured interviews, and many of the traumas did not seem integrated in their personal narratives. The analyses further revealed that although participants often described complicated and traumatic childhood environments, they still felt supported by their families; they reported a range of ways in which they tried to cope with and gain control of their psychotic disorder, and they described a general optimistic view of the future.

*Psychiatric Research Unit, Region Zealand Psychiatry; and †Early Psychosis Intervention Center, Psychiatry East, Region Zealand, Roskilde; and ‡Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Send reprint requests to Jens Einar Jansen, PhD, Psychiatric Research Unit, Region Zealand Psychiatry, Toftebakken 9, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark. E-mail: jenj@regionsjaelland.dk; jens.einar@gmail.com.

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