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Although violence is a vital public health problem, no prospective studies have tested for subsequent vulnerability to violence, as a victim or witness, in members of the general population with a range of psychiatric symptoms, or evaluated the importance of higher symptom burden on this vulnerability.
We used successive waves of a household survey of Southeast London, taken 2 years apart, to test if association exists between psychiatric symptoms (symptoms of psychosis, common mental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and personality disorder) and later victimisation, in the form of either witnessing violence or being physically victimised, in weighted logistic regression models. Statistical adjustment was made for prior violence exposure, sociodemographic confounders, substance/alcohol use and violence perpetration. Sensitivity analyses were stratified by violence perpetration, sex and history of mental health service use.
After adjustments, psychiatric symptoms were prospectively associated with reporting any subsequent victimisation (odds ratio (OR) 1.88, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25–2.83), a two times greater odds of reporting witnessed violence (OR 2.24, 95% CI 1.33–3.76) and reporting physical victimisation (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.01–3.06). One more symptom endorsed was accompanied by 47% greater odds of subsequent victimisation (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.16–1.86). In stratified analyses, statistical associations remained evident in non-perpetrators, and among those without a history of using mental health services, and were similar in magnitude in both men and women.
Psychiatric symptoms increase liability to victimisation compared with those without psychiatric symptoms, independently of a prior history of violence exposure and irrespective of whether they themselves are perpetrators of violence. Clinicians should be mindful of the impact of psychiatric symptoms on vulnerability to victimisation, including among those with common psychiatric symptoms and among those who are not considered at risk of perpetrating violence.
We have previously reported an association between childhood abuse and psychotic experiences (PEs) in survey data from South East London. Childhood abuse is related to subsequent adulthood adversity, which could form one pathway to PEs. We aimed to investigate evidence of mediation of the association between childhood abuse and PEs by adverse life events.
Data were analysed from the South East London Community Health Study (SELCoH, n = 1698). Estimates of the total effects on PEs of any physical or sexual abuse while growing up were partitioned into direct (i.e. unmediated) and indirect (total and specific) effects, mediated via violent and non-violent life events.
There was strong statistical evidence for direct (OR 1.58, 95% CI: 1.19–2.1) and indirect (OR 1.51, 95% CI: 1.32–1.72) effects of childhood abuse on PEs after adjustment for potential confounders, indicating partial mediation of this effect via violent and non-violent life events. An estimated 47% of the total effect of abuse on PEs was mediated via adulthood adverse life events, of which violent life events made up 33% and non-violent life events the remaining 14%.
The association between childhood abuse and PEs is partly mediated through the experience of adverse life events in adulthood. There is some evidence that a larger proportion of this effect was mediated through violent life events than non-violent life events.
The association between cigarette smoking and psychosis remains unexplained, but could relate to causal effects in both directions, confounding by socioeconomic factors, such as ethnicity, or use of other substances, including cannabis. Few studies have evaluated the association between cigarettes and psychotic experiences (PEs) in diverse, inner-city populations, or relationships with number of cigarettes consumed.
We assessed associations and dose–response relationships between cigarette smoking and PEs in a cross-sectional survey of household residents (n = 1680) in South East London, using logistic regression to adjust for cannabis use, other illicit substances, and socioeconomic factors, including ethnicity.
We found association between any PEs and daily cigarette smoking, which remained following adjustment for age, gender, ethnicity, cannabis and use of illicit stimulant drugs (fully adjusted odds ratio 1.47, 95% confidence interval 1.01–2.15). Fully adjusted estimates for the association, and with number of PEs, increased with number of cigarettes smoked daily, implying a dose–response effect (p = 0.001 and <0.001, respectively). Odds of reporting any PEs in ex-smokers were similar to never-smokers.
In this diverse epidemiological sample, association between smoking and PEs was not explained by confounders such as cannabis or illicit drugs. Daily cigarette consumption showed a dose–response relationship with the odds of reporting PEs, and of reporting a greater number of PEs. There was no difference in odds of reporting PEs between ex-smokers and never-smokers, raising the possibility that the increase in PEs associated with smoking may be reversible.
It has been observed that mental disorders, such as psychosis, are more common for people in some ethnic groups in areas where their ethnic group is less common. We set out to test whether this ethnic density effect reflects minority status in general, by looking at three situations where individual characteristics differ from what is usual in a locality.
Using data from the South East London Community Health study (n = 1698) we investigated associations between minority status (defined by: ethnicity, household status and occupational social class) and risk of psychotic experiences, common mental disorders and parasuicide. We used a multilevel logistic model to examine cross-level interactions between minority status at individual and neighbourhood levels.
Being Black in an area where this was less common (10%) was associated with higher odds of psychotic experiences [odds ratio (OR) 1.34 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.67], and attempted suicide (OR 1.84 95% CI 1.19–2.85). Living alone where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of psychotic experiences (OR 2.18 95% CI 0.91–5.26), while being in a disadvantaged social class where this was less usual (10% less) was associated with increased odds of attempted suicide (OR 1.33 95% CI 1.03–1.71). We found no evidence for an association with common mental disorders.
The relationship between minority status and mental distress was most apparent when defined in terms of broad ethnic group but was also observed for individual household status and occupational social class.
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