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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stuart Watson,
Dr Peter GallagherORCiD,
Emeritus Professor Nicol Ferrier,
Professor Allan Young
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Background--There has been little investigation of early trauma in bipolar disorder despite evidence that stress impacts on the course of this illness. We aimed to compare the rates of childhood trauma in adults with bipolar disorder to a healthy control group, and to investigate the impact of childhood trauma on the clinical course of bipolar disorder. Methods--Retrospective assessment of childhood trauma was conducted using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) in 60 outpatients with bipolar disorder being treated for a depressive episode and 55 control participants across two centres in North East England and New Zealand. Results--Significantly higher rates of childhood trauma were observed in patients with bipolar I and bipolar II disorder compared to controls. Logistic regression, controlling for age and gender, identified emotional neglect to be the only significant CTQ subscale associated with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Childhood history of sexual abuse was not a significant predictor. Associations with clinical severity or course were less clear. Limitations--The relatively small sample size engenders the risk of type II errors. A third treatment arm to include euthymic bipolar patients may have provided a useful comparator group. Although minimised, the potential for recall bias through retrospective assessment, in this study is acknowledged; this could be addressed by conducting a prospective study. Conclusions--Childhood emotional neglect appears to be significantly associated with bipolar disorder. Replication of this study is required, with further investigation into the neurobiological consequences of childhood trauma particularly emotional neglect.
Author(s): Watson S, Gallagher P, Dougall D, Porter R, Moncrieff J, Ferrier IN, Young AH
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
Print publication date: 01/06/2014
Online publication date: 16/12/2013
Acceptance date: 01/01/1900
Date deposited: 12/11/2015
ISSN (print): 0004-8674
ISSN (electronic): 1440-1614
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
PubMed id: 24343193
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