Impact of interpersonal trauma on the social functioning of adults with first-episode psychosis

Helen J. Stain, Kolbjørn Brønnick, Wenche T V Hegelstad, Inge Joa, Jan O. Johannessen, Johannes Langeveld, Lauren Mawn, Tor K. Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Social functioning is an important treatment outcome for psychosis, and yet, we know little about its relationship to trauma despite high rates of trauma in people with psychosis. Childhood trauma is likely to disrupt the acquisition of interpersonal relatedness skills including the desire for affiliation and thus lead to impaired social functioning in adulthood. Aims: We hypothesized that childhood trauma would be a predictor of poor social functioning for adults with psychosis and that further trauma in adulthood would moderate this relationship. Method: A first-episode psychosis sample aged 15-65 years (N = 233) completed measures of social functioning (Lehman's Quality of Life Interview and Strauss Carpenter Functioning Scale) and trauma (Brief Betrayal Trauma Survey), as well as clinical assessments. Results: Childhood trauma (any type) was associated with poorer premorbid functioning and was experienced by 61% of our sample. There were no associations with clinical symptoms. Interpersonal trauma in childhood was a significant predictor of social functioning satisfaction in adulthood, but this was not the case for interpersonal trauma in adulthood. However, 45% of adults who reported childhood interpersonal trauma also experienced adulthood interpersonal trauma. Conclusion: Our results emphasize the importance of early relationship experience such as interpersonal trauma, on the social functioning of adults with psychosis. We recommend extending our research by examining the impact of interpersonal childhood trauma on occupational functioning in psychosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1498
Number of pages8
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • childhood trauma
  • early psychosis
  • relationships
  • social satisfaction


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