Associations of Anxiety-Related Symptoms With Reported History of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders
J Clin Psychiatry 2005;66(10):1279-1284
© Copyright 2015 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Objective: Research suggests that
persons with schizophrenia tend to experience
significant levels of anxiety and that history of
childhood sexual abuse may predispose some with
schizophrenia to experience significant levels of
persistent anxiety. It is unclear whether
childhood sexual abuse is more closely linked to
specific forms of anxiety including symptoms of
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Method: Data were gathered from April
2004 through November 2004 on trauma history, PTSD symptoms, social anxiety, and state and trait
anxiety from 45 men with a SCID-I-confirmed diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective
disorder and 11 with a SCID-I-confirmed diagnosis
of PTSD with no history of psychosis. Participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders
(schizophrenia group) were divided into those with
and without history of childhood sexual abuse.
Five participants in the schizophrenia group with
a history of adult but not childhood sexual
assault were excluded from analyses.
Results: Analysis of variance comparing
the childhood sexual abuse (N=21) and non-abused (N=19) schizophrenia groups and the
PTSD group on all anxiety assessments revealed that
the sexually abused schizophrenia group had
significantly higher levels of dissociation, intrusive
experiences, and state and trait anxiety than the
non-abused schizophrenia group. The schizophrenia groups did not differ statistically on levels of
anxious arousal, defensive avoidance, or social
anxiety. When compared with participants with PTSD and no psychosis, the sexually abused
schizophrenia group had significantly lower levels of
state anxiety, anxious arousal, intrusive
experiences, and fearful social avoidance but failed to
differ statistically on other scores.
Conclusion: These results, if replicated,
could lead to identification of those at risk for
anxiety and PTSD and to targeted interventions.