Children with history of sexual abuse are at a higher risk of developing schizophrenic tendencies, a study said.

A report in the November issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals suggests that if the abuse involved penetration the risk of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorder is far higher.

Depression, anxiety, substance abuse, borderline personality disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder and suicidal behavior have been established are common psychological trauma developed by children who were sexually abused.

“The possibility of a link between childhood sexual abuse and later psychotic disorders, however, remains unresolved despite the claims of some that a causal link has been established to schizophrenia,” the authors write.

The study examined data from police and medical cases of sexual abuse to a statewide register of psychiatric cases. Margaret C. Cutajar, D.Psych., M.A.P.S., of Monash University, Victoria, Australia, and colleagues linked the rates of psychiatric disorders by comparing 2,759 individuals who had been sexually abused when younger than age 16 were compared with those among 4,938 individuals drawn from electoral records.

The data comprised over a 30-year period found that those who experienced childhood sexual abuse displayed increase rates of psychotic disorder than those comparatively psychosis group and schizophrenic disorders.

The recipients experienced sexual abuse at an average age of 10.2, and 1,732 (63 percent) of cases recipients involved penetration of a bodily orifice by a penis, finger or other objects. Those who were exposed to such abuse had higher rates of psychosis (3.4 percent) and schizophrenia (2.4 percent).

“The risks of subsequently developing a schizophrenic syndrome were greatest in victims subjected to penetrative abuse in the peripubertal and post pubertal years from 12 to 16 years and among those abused by more than one perpetrator," according to the authors. "Children raped in early adolescence by more than one perpetrator had a risk of developing psychotic syndromes 15 times greater than for the general population."

“Establishing that severe childhood sexual abuse is a risk factor for schizophrenia does have important clinical implications irrespective of questions of causality and irrespective of whether those whose abuse is revealed are typical,” the authors said.