Examining the effect of childhood trauma on psychological distress, risk of violence and engagement, in forensic mental health

Marlene Macinnes*, Gary Macpherson, Jessica Austin, Matthias Schwannauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research has found an association between childhood trauma and insecure attachment and psychological distress, risk of violence and engagement in therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between these factors in a forensic population. Sixty-four participants from three secure psychiatric hospitals completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), the Relationship Scales Questionnaire (RSQ) and the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation Outcome Measure (CORE-OM). Overall scores from participants' Historical Clinical Risk Management Violence Risk Assessment Scheme, (HCR-20) were calculated. Staff evaluated participants' engagement in therapy via completion of the Service Engagement Scale (SES). This retrospective study found childhood trauma and insecure attachment significantly predicted psychological distress and risk of violence. No associations with engagement were found, but methodological reasons for this outcome were acknowledged. The importance of routinely assessing for a history of childhood trauma and insecure attachment was highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-320
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume246
Early online date29 Sep 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • child abuse
  • insecure attachment
  • offending
  • psychopathology
  • borderline personality disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • sexual abuse
  • adult attachment
  • social support
  • core om
  • psychosis
  • offenders
  • events
  • self

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