Childhood Maltreatment and Young Adulthood Hallucinations, Delusional Experiences, and Psychosis: A Longitudinal Study.
ABSTRACT: Child maltreatment is a widespread public health problem associated with a range of mental health disorders later in life. In order to effectively address these disorders, there is a need to understand more about the mental health consequences of different types of child maltreatment. This study examines the associations between prospectively substantiated child maltreatment (ages 0-14 y) and reports of hallucinations and delusional experiences at 21 years after birth. As well, we examined 12-month and lifetime psychotic disorders using data from a longitudinal birth cohort. The study comprised 3752 participants from the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy, a prospective Australian prebirth cohort study. Psychotic experiences and 12-month and lifetime psychosis were measured using the Achenbach Young Adults Self-Report, the Peter's Delusions Inventory, and Composite International Diagnostic Interview at the 21-year follow-up. In adjusted analyses, those children who had experienced any maltreatment and who were emotionally abused and neglected were more likely to report (1) hallucinations and lifetime delusional experiences and (2) more likely to experience lifetime psychosis than their nonabused counterparts. In expanded models, those exposed to multiple forms of maltreatment, in particular with emotional abuse and neglect, had an increased likelihood of hallucinations and delusional experiences. There is an association between child maltreatment, especially emotional abuse and neglect, and later hallucinations, delusional experiences, and psychosis. It is, however, relevant to note that the vast majority of children experiencing childhood maltreatment do not appear to develop psychotic experiences or psychotic disorder. Further research to determine the reasons for highly variable outcomes of child maltreatment is warranted.