Impact of adverse childhood experiences on educational achievements in young people at clinical high risk of developing psychosis

Stefania Tognin, Ana Catalan*, Matthew J. Kempton, Barnaby Nelson, Patrick McGorry, Anita Riecher-Rössler, Rodrigo Bressan, Neus Barrantes-Vidal, Marie Odile Krebs, Merete Nordentoft, Stephan Ruhrmann, Gabriele Sachs, Bart P.F. Rutten, Jim Van Os, Lieuwe De Haan, Mark Van Der Gaag, Philip McGuire, Lucia R. Valmaggia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can affect educational attainments, but little is known about their impact on educational achievements in people at clinical high risk of psychosis (CHR). Methods In total, 344 CHR individuals and 67 healthy controls (HC) were recruited as part of the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme-funded multicenter study the European Network of National Schizophrenia Networks Studying Gene-Environment Interactions (EU-GEI). The brief version of the Child Trauma Questionnaire was used to measure ACE, while educational attainments were assessed using a semi-structured interview. Results At baseline, compared with HC, the CHR group spent less time in education and had higher rates of ACE, lower rates of employment, and lower estimated intelligence quotient (IQ). Across both groups, the total number of ACE was associated with fewer days in education and lower level of education. Emotional abuse was associated with fewer days in education in HC. Emotional neglect was associated with a lower level of education in CHR, while sexual abuse was associated with a lower level of education in HC. In the CHR group, the total number of ACE, physical abuse, and neglect was significantly associated with unemployment, while emotional neglect was associated with employment. Conclusions ACE are strongly associated with developmental outcomes such as educational achievement. Early intervention for psychosis programs should aim at integrating specific interventions to support young CHR people in their educational and vocational recovery. More generally, public health and social interventions focused on the prevention of ACE (or reduce their impact if ACE occur) are recommended.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2023


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • clinical high risk for psychosis
  • education

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