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Increased risk of psychotic symptoms at 12 years in children who have been maltreated by adults or bullied by peers

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Does trauma during childhood such as maltreatment, bullying or accidents increase the risk of developing psychotic symptoms?


1116 same sex 5-year-old twin pairs and their families.


Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a cohort study of children in England and Wales born in 1994 and 1995.

Risk factors

Childhood trauma (maltreatment by caregivers, relatives or neighbours resulting in the child being hurt, bullying by peers or a history of accidents). Onset of trauma before age 7, between ages 7 and 12 and at any time before age 12 (lifetime) were determined.


Psychotic symptoms at the age of 12 assessed in an individual interview using questions developed specifically for the study and guided by the Dunedin Study's age 11 interview protocol and methods of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.



Prospective cohort study of twins.

Follow-up period

7 years (from the age of 5 to 12 years).

Main results

A total of 2232 twins …

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  • Source of funding The Medical Research Council.


  • Competing interests None.

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