Exposure to stressful life events during pregnancy predicts psychotic experiences via behaviour problems in childhood

Betts, Kim S., Williams, Gail M., Najman, Jakob M., Scott, James and Alati, Rosa (2014) Exposure to stressful life events during pregnancy predicts psychotic experiences via behaviour problems in childhood. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 59 132-139. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.08.001

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Author Betts, Kim S.
Williams, Gail M.
Najman, Jakob M.
Scott, James
Alati, Rosa
Title Exposure to stressful life events during pregnancy predicts psychotic experiences via behaviour problems in childhood
Journal name Journal of Psychiatric Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-3956
1879-1379
Publication date 2014-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.08.001
Volume 59
Start page 132
End page 139
Total pages 8
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Language eng
Abstract Background: Exposure to stressful life events during pregnancy has been associated with later schizophrenia in offspring. We explore how prenatal stress and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in childhood associate to increase the risk of later psychotic experiences. Methods: Participants from the Mater University Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), an Australian based, pre-birth cohort study were examined for lifetime DSM-IV positive psychotic experiences at 21 years by a semi-structured interview (n = 2227). Structural equation modelling suggested psychotic experiences were best represented with a bifactor model including a general psychosis factor and two group factors. We tested for an association between prenatal stressful life events with the psychotic experiences, and examined for potential moderation and mediation by behaviour problems and cognitive ability in childhood. Results: Prenatal stressful life events predicted psychotic experiences indirectly via behaviour problems at child age five years, and this relationship was not confounded by maternal stressful life events at child age five. We found no statistical evidence for an interaction between prenatal stressful life events and behaviour problems or cognitive ability. Conclusion: The measurable effect of prenatal stressful life events on later psychotic experiences in offspring manifested as behaviour problems by age 5. By identifying early abnormal behavioural development as an intermediary, this finding further confirms the role of prenatal stress to later psychotic disorders.
Keyword Behavioural problems
Cognitive ability
Mediation
Neurodevelopment
Prenatal stressful life events
Psychotic experiences
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

 
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