Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Genetic liability to schizophrenia is associated with exposure to traumatic events in childhood

Sallis, Hannah, Croft, Jazz, Havdahl, Alexandra, Jones, Hannah, Dunn, Erin, Davey Smith, George, Zammit, Stanley and Munafo, Marcus 2021. Genetic liability to schizophrenia is associated with exposure to traumatic events in childhood. Psychological Medicine 51 (11) , pp. 1814-1821. 10.1017/S0033291720000537

[thumbnail of genetic_liability_to_schizophrenia_is_associated_with_exposure_to_traumatic_events_in_childhood.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (240kB) | Preview


Background There is a wealth of literature on the observed association between childhood trauma and psychotic illness. However, the relationship between childhood trauma and psychosis is complex and could be explained, in part, by gene–environment correlation. Methods The association between schizophrenia polygenic scores (PGS) and experiencing childhood trauma was investigated using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Schizophrenia PGS were derived in each cohort for children, mothers, and fathers where genetic data were available. Measures of trauma exposure were derived based on data collected throughout childhood and adolescence (0–17 years; ALSPAC) and at age 8 years (MoBa). Results Within ALSPAC, we found a positive association between schizophrenia PGS and exposure to trauma across childhood and adolescence; effect sizes were consistent for both child or maternal PGS. We found evidence of an association between the schizophrenia PGS and the majority of trauma subtypes investigated, with the exception of bullying. These results were comparable with those of MoBa. Within ALSPAC, genetic liability to a range of additional psychiatric traits was also associated with a greater trauma exposure. Conclusions Results from two international birth cohorts indicate that genetic liability for a range of psychiatric traits is associated with experiencing childhood trauma. Genome-wide association study of psychiatric phenotypes may also reflect risk factors for these phenotypes. Our findings also suggest that youth at higher genetic risk might require greater resources/support to ensure they grow-up in a healthy environment.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 0033-2917
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 25 February 2020
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2021 07:07

Citation Data

Cited 6 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics