Childhood abuse is common among people with psychosis and it is associated with poor illness outcomes. Some forms of childhood abuse are more common in women, but the impact of gender and childhood abuse in psychosis has been little investigated and evidence has never been put into a congruent frame. Herein, we conducted a narrative review to assess the impact of gender and childhood abuse in psychosis. Research articles were identified (n = 44) using a comprehensive electronic search of PubMed, Web-of-Science, Scopus and Cochrane databases. Women appeared to be at greater risk of sexual abuse than men. Women with childhood abuse report more positive and mood symptoms, and more suicide attempts compared to men. In addition, women exposed to childhood abuse display an earlier age of onset compared to not exposed, but this association is not present in men. Conversely, men with childhood abuse show more negative symptoms, substance use and a poorer cognitive performance compared to women. It seems therefore confirmed that gender and childhood abuse may impact on the outcome of psychosis, since not all gender differences found in patients who had been abused in their childhood are accounted by the overall differences between men and women with psychosis.
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