The impact of childhood sexual trauma on intimacy and sexuality needs among people with non-affective psychosis

Schizophr Res. 2021 Aug 26;236:97-103. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2021.08.003. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Childhood trauma, in particular childhood sexual abuse (CSA), and unmet sexuality and intimacy needs are prevalent among people with psychosis spectrum disorders. The association between CSA and sexuality and intimacy needs over time in adults with psychosis spectrum disorders were examined.

METHOD: Patients (n = 1119) were recruited as part of the Genetic Risk and OUtcome of Psychosis (GROUP) study, a representative cohort of patients with non-affective psychotic disorder. At baseline, three-year and six-year follow-up, sexuality and intimacy needs were assessed with the Camberwell Assessment of Needs. CSA was assessed with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire.

RESULTS: At baseline, sexuality (26%) and intimacy (40%) needs were prevalent; 90% of these needs remained unmet. Cross-sectionally, CSA was associated with sexuality needs (OR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.13-2.04) and intimacy needs (OR = 1.75, 95% CI: 1.04- 1.77). Childhood emotional abuse (CEA) was also cross-sectionally associated with sexuality and intimacy needs. Others forms of trauma were not. Prospectively, CSA predicted incidence of a sexuality need (HR = 2.1, 95% CI: 1.23-3.74) as well as an intimacy need (HR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.11-2.66), as did CEA (sexuality: HR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.11-2.89; intimacy: HR = 1.4, 95% CI: 1.03-1.96). CSA and CEA were not associated with persistence of sexuality or intimacy.

CONCLUSION: CSA and CEA are associated with a higher prevalence and incidence of sexuality and intimacy needs in patients with psychotic disorders. High rates of unmet sexuality and intimacy needs may indicate an underlying need for trauma-related treatment as well as a need for novel interventions targeting these needs.

PMID:34455357 | DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2021.08.003

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