The traumagenic neurodevelopmental model of psychosis revisited

Author(s): John Read, Roar Fosse, Andrew Moskowitz, Bruce Perry

Evidence that childhood adversities are risk factors for psychosis has accumulated rapidly. Research into the mechanisms underlying these relationships has focused, productively, on psychological processes, including cognition, attachment and dissociation. In 2001, the traumagenic neurodevelopmental model sought to integrate biological and psychological research by highlighting the similarities between the structural and functional abnormalities in the brains of abused children and adults diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’. No review of relevant literature has subsequently been published. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to summarize the literature on biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between childhood trauma and psychosis published since 2001. A comprehensive search for relevant papers was undertaken via Medline, PubMed and psycINFO. In total, 125 papers were identified, with a range of methodologies, and provided both indirect support for and direct confirmation of the traumagenic neurodevelopmental model. Integrating our growing understanding of the biological sequelae of early adversity with our knowledge of the psychological processes linking early adversity to psychosis is valuable both theoretically and clinically.


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