Childhood adversity and psychosis: Examining whether the association is due to genetic confounding using a monozygotic twin differences approach

S. Alemany, X. Goldberg, R. van Winkel, C. Gasto, V. Peralta, L. Fananas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Web of Science)


Purpose: To test whether the association between childhood adversity and positive and negative psychotic experiences is due to genetic confounding. Method: Childhood adversity and psychotic experiences were assessed in an ongoing sample of 226 twins from the general population. A monozygotic (MZ) twin differences approach was used to assess possible genetic confounding. Results: In the whole sample, childhood adversity was significantly associated with positive (beta =45; SE = 0.16; P = 0.008) and negative psychotic experiences (beta = 0.77; SE = 0.18; P <0.01). Within-pair MZ twin differences in exposure to childhood adversity were significantly associated with differences in positive (beta = 71; SE = 0.29; P= 0.016) and negative psychotic experiences (beta = 98; SE = 0.38; P= 0.014) in a subsample of 85 MZ twin pairs. Conclusions: Individuals exposed to childhood adversity are more likely to report psychotic experiences. Furthermore, our findings indicate that this association is not due to genetic confounding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-212
JournalEuropean Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Schizophrenia and psychosis
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Child abuse

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