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Children and adolescents who report psychotic symptoms appear to be at increased risk for psychotic disorders in adulthood – a putative ‘symptomatic’ high-risk group. However, little research has investigated whether those in this high-risk population have increased rates of exposure to traumatic events in childhood, as seen in patients who have a psychotic illness.
To examine whether adolescents with psychotic symptoms have an increased rate of traumatic experiences.
Psychiatric interviews were carried out with 211 adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years and their parents as part of a population-based study. The interview enquired about a number of early traumatic events including physical and sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence and bullying.
Fourteen adolescents (6.6% of those interviewed) reported experiencing at least one psychotic symptom. Adolescents who reported psychotic symptoms were significantly more likely to have been physically abused in childhood, to have been exposed to domestic violence and to be identified as a bully/victim (that is, both a perpetrator and victim of bullying) than those who did not report such symptoms. These findings were not confounded by comorbid psychiatric illness or family history of psychiatric history.
Our findings suggest that childhood trauma may increase the risk of psychotic experiences. The characteristics of bully/victims deserve further study.
There are no national standards to evaluate the quality of delivery of in-patient liaison psychiatry services in general hospitals in the UK. In order to benchmark our service against best international practice, we adapted quality indicators from two peer-reviewed studies from Australia and Switzerland and monitored our performance standards over a period of 6 months.
There were 145 patients assessed over the study period. We set a priori target of 90% achievement on indicators in the areas of timeliness of response to all referrals, timeliness of response to referrals following self-harm and quality of supervision of junior medical staff attaining 93.8, 87.5 and 89.6% respectively.
We demonstrated that we provided a reasonably responsive consultation–liaison service with high levels of supervision of junior staff. National bodies should develop benchmarks in this area so that services can demonstrate the quality of their service and learn from others' good practice.
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