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Is psychosis a syndemic manifestation of historical and contemporary adversity?

Aggiornamento: 28 gen 2022

Bhui K., Halvordsurd K., Mooney R., Hosang G.


British Journal of Psychiatry, 2021: 219, 686-694



Interessante il concetto di sindemia, che gli Autori sviluppano.


Psychosis is associated with many forms of adversity, deprivation and living in urban areas. Aims: To investigate whether psychosis is part of a syndemic of multiple adversities. Method: Drawing on UK Biobank (UKBB) data (Project ID: 57601), we sought to understand mechanisms by which childhood, recent/ contemporary and place-based adversities might cluster and interact to be implicated in pathways by which psychoses evolve. We investigated the associations between adversities, potential mediating inflammatory markers and ICD-10 diagnoses (F20–F31) of psychotic disorders. We fitted logistic regression models initially including all relevant candidate variables and used backwards deletion to retain theoretically plausible and statistically significant (P < 0.05) associations with psychotic disorders. The candidate variables were entered in a partial least squares structural equation model (PLS-SEM) to test for syndemic interactions between risk factors. We tested whether the findings were sensitive to demographics, gender and ethnicity. Results: We fitted a PLS-SEM including psychosis as a syndemic outcome, and identified three latent constructs: lifetime adversity, current adversity and biomarkers. Factor loadings were above 0.30, and all structural paths were significant (P < 0.05). There were moderate associations between lifetime adversity and current adversity (standardised coefficient s.c. = 0.178) and between current adversity and biomarkers (s.c. = 0.227). All three latent constructs showed small but significant associations with psychosis (s.c. < 0.04). Lifetime adversity and current adversity were more strongly associated among ethnic minorities (combined) than White British people. Conclusions: Our findings stress the importance of interactions between childhood and contemporary adversities in preventive and therapeutic interventions for psychotic disorders, especially among ethnic minorities. Keywords: Psychosis; syndemic; inflammation; adversity; social deprivation.


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