Histories of childhood maltreatment in schizophrenia: Relationships with premorbid functioning, symptomatology, and cognitive deficits

Lindsay S. Schenkel, William D. Spaulding, David DiLillo, Steven M. Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

155 Scopus citations


A number of studies have demonstrated an increased rate of histories of childhood maltreatment among adults with serious mental illness. The present investigation documented the presence of childhood maltreatment in a sample of 40 psychiatric inpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The type (neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse), duration, and severity of childhood maltreatment was examined along with measures of premorbid functioning, current symptomatology, and cognitive functioning. Participants with histories of maltreatment were significantly more likely to have poorer peer relationships in childhood, more difficulty in school, an earlier age at first hospitalization, more previous hospitalizations, elevated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and suicidality on the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), and more impaired performance on a task of visual-perceptual organization. Severity and frequency of childhood maltreatment were both positively correlated with hallucinations and delusions on the BPRS. Linear trend analysis indicated a pattern of more severe impairment as the number of types of maltreatment increased. No relationships were found between maltreatment and measures of executive functioning, verbal fluency, or verbal processing speed. A history of childhood maltreatment appears to be a significant determinant of premorbid functioning, illness-related symptom expression, and specific forms of cognitive dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-286
Number of pages14
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jul 15 2005



  • Childhood abuse
  • Neurocognition
  • Perceptual organization
  • Premorbid functioning
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this