Exposure to violence in childhood and risk of violence in adult schizophrenia: results from a multinational study

Fabio Panariello, Manuel Zamparini, Marco Picchioni, Olav B. Nielssen, Janusz Heitzman, Laura Iozzino, Inga Markewitz, Johannes Wancata, Giovanni de Girolamo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the connection between childhood violence exposure and violent behavior in adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSDs). The case-control study included 398 SSD patients: 221 cases with a history of severe interpersonal violence in the past and 177 controls with no history of violence. The findings indicated that cases were significantly more likely to report childhood exposure to all forms of witnessed or personally sustained violence both within and outside the family, with those who had witnessed intra-familial violence being more likely to assault a family member in adulthood. Cases reported exposure to violence before the age of 12 years significantly more frequently than controls, and those with early-life violence exposure were significantly more likely to report that they were in a state of intense anger when they behaved violently. A dose-response relationship was observed, with evidence of an increased risk of later violence when the exposure occurred before the age of 12 and an increased likelihood of intrafamilial violence. The evidence suggests that childhood violence exposure was associated with an increased risk of violent behavior in adult SSD patients, and early exposure was linked to an increased likelihood of physical violence occurring in states of intense anger.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115299
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood adversity experiences
  • Intense anger state
  • Intrafamily violence
  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Witnessed violence


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