Gender Differences in the Correlations between Childhood Trauma, Schizotypy and Negative Emotions in Non-Clinical Individuals

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Early life trauma has a negative impact on the developing brain, and this can lead to a wide range of mental illnesses later in life. Childhood trauma is associated with increased psychotic symptoms and negative emotions such as depressive, anxiety, and stress symptoms in adulthood. Childhood trauma has also been shown to influence sub-clinical ‘schizotypy’ characteristics of psychosis in the general population. As it has been reported that mental health outcomes after early life trauma exposure are influenced by gender, the current study aimed to investigate the gender differences in the relationship between childhood trauma, schizotypy and negative emotions. Sixty-one non-clinical participants (33 men and 28 women) aged between 18 and 45 completed self-report questionnaires to measure early life trauma, schizotypy and negative emotions. Despite similar levels of childhood trauma in men and women, early life trauma in women was associated with increased schizotypy personality characteristics (Cognitive Disorganisation) and increased depression, anxiety and stress later in life, but no correlations were observed in men. Our findings suggest that the sociocultural and biological processes affected by early life adversities may differ between the genders. Women may be more vulnerable to the influence of childhood trauma, which may be associated with increased psychopathology later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186
Number of pages18
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Early life adversity
  • Schizophrenia spectrum
  • Stress

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