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Evidence from high-income countries suggests that childhood trauma is associated with schizophrenia. Studies of childhood trauma and schizophrenia in low and middle income (LMIC) countries are limited. This study examined the prevalence of childhood traumatic experiences among cases and controls and the relationship between specific and cumulative childhood traumatic experiences and schizophrenia in a sample in South Africa.
Data were from the Genomics of Schizophrenia in the South African Xhosa people study. Cases with schizophrenia and matched controls were recruited from provincial hospitals and clinics in the Western and Eastern Cape regions in South Africa. Childhood traumatic experiences were measured using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Adjusted logistic regression models estimated associations between individual and cumulative childhood traumatic experiences and schizophrenia.
Traumatic experiences were more prevalent among cases than controls. The odds of schizophrenia were 2.44 times higher among those who experienced any trauma than those who reported no traumatic experiences (95% CI 1.77–3.37). The odds of schizophrenia were elevated among those who experienced physical/emotional abuse (OR 1.59, CI 1.28–1.97), neglect (OR 1.39, CI 1.16–1.68), and sexual abuse (OR 1.22, CI 1.03–1.45) compared to those who did not. Cumulative physical/emotional abuse and neglect experiences increased the odds of schizophrenia as a dose–response relationship.
Childhood trauma is common in this population. Among many other benefits, interventions to prevent childhood trauma may contribute to a decreasing occurrence of schizophrenia.
Although early life adversity (ELA) increases risk for psychopathology, mechanisms linking ELA with the onset of psychopathology remain poorly understood. Conceptual models have argued that ELA accelerates development. It is unknown whether all forms of ELA are associated with accelerated development or whether early maturation is a potential mechanism linking ELA with psychopathology. We examine whether two distinct dimensions of ELA – threat and deprivation – have differential associations with pubertal timing in girls, and evaluate whether accelerated pubertal timing is a mechanism linking ELA with the onset of adolescent psychopathology.
Data were drawn from a large, nationally representative sample of 4937 adolescent girls. Multiple forms of ELA characterized by threat and deprivation were assessed along with age at menarche (AAM) and the onset of DSM-IV fear, distress, externalizing, and eating disorders.
Greater exposure to threat was associated with earlier AAM (B = −0.1, p = 0.001). Each 1-year increase in AAM was associated with reduced odds of fear, distress, and externalizing disorders post-menarche (ORs = 0.74–0.85). Earlier AAM significantly mediated the association between exposure to threat and post-menarche onset of distress (proportion mediated = 6.2%), fear (proportion mediated = 16.3%), and externalizing disorders (proportion mediated = 2.9%).
Accelerated pubertal development in girls may be one transdiagnostic pathway through which threat-related experiences confer risk for the adolescent onset of mental disorders. Early pubertal maturation is a marker that could be used in both medical and mental health settings to identify trauma-exposed youth that are at risk for developing a mental disorder during adolescence in order to better target early interventions.
Most research on the prevalence, distribution, and psychiatric comorbidity of intellectual disability (ID) relies on clinical samples, limiting the generalizability and utility of ID assessment in a legal context. This study assessed ID prevalence in a population-representative sample of US adolescents and examined associations of ID with socio-demographic factors and mental disorders.
Data were drawn from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (N = 6256). ID was defined as: (1) IQ ⩽ 76, measured using the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test; (2) an adaptive behavior score ⩽76, and (3) age of onset ⩽18 measured using a validated scale. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview assessed 15 lifetime mental disorders. The Sheehan disability scale assessed disorder severity. We used logistic regression models to estimate differences in lifetime disorders for adolescents with and without ID.
ID prevalence was 3.2%. Among adolescents with ID, 65.1% met lifetime criteria for a mental disorder. ID status was associated with specific phobia, agoraphobia, and bipolar disorder, but not behavior disorders after adjustment for socio-demographics. Adolescents with ID and mental disorders were significantly more likely to exhibit severe impairment than those without ID.
These findings highlight how sample selection and overlap between ID and psychopathology symptoms might bias understanding of the mental health consequences of ID. For example, associations between ID and behavior disorders widely reported in clinical samples were not observed in a population-representative sample after adjustment for socio-demographic confounders. Valid assessment and understanding of these constructs may prove influential in the legal system by influencing treatment referrals and capital punishment decisions.
General Scientific Summary
Current definitions of intellectual disability (ID) are based on three criteria: formal designation of low intelligence through artificial problem-solving tasks, impairment in one's ability to function in his/her social environment, and early age of onset. In a national population sample of adolescents, the majority of those with ID met criteria for a lifetime mental disorder. Phobias and bipolar disorder, but not behavior disorders, were elevated in adolescents with ID. Findings highlight the need to consider how behavioral problems are conceptualized and classified in people with ID.
To estimate and compare the impact on healthcare costs of 3 alternative strategies for reducing bloodstream infections in the intensive care unit (ICU): methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nares screening and isolation, targeted decolonization (ie, screening, isolation, and decolonization of MRSA carriers or infections), and universal decolonization (ie, no screening and decolonization of all ICU patients).
Cost analysis using decision modeling.
We developed a decision-analysis model to estimate the health care costs of targeted decolonization and universal decolonization strategies compared with a strategy of MRSA nares screening and isolation. Effectiveness estimates were derived from a recent randomized trial of the 3 strategies, and cost estimates were derived from the literature.
In the base case, universal decolonization was the dominant strategy and was estimated to have both lower intervention costs and lower total ICU costs than either screening and isolation or targeted decolonization. Compared with screening and isolation, universal decolonization was estimated to save $171,000 and prevent 9 additional bloodstream infections for every 1,000 ICU admissions. The dominance of universal decolonization persisted under a wide range of cost and effectiveness assumptions.
A strategy of universal decolonization for patients admitted to the ICU would both reduce bloodstream infections and likely reduce healthcare costs compared with strategies of MRSA nares screening and isolation or screening and isolation coupled with targeted decolonization.