The impact of childhood trauma on developing bipolar disorder: current understanding and ensuring continued progress

Yann Quidé, Leonardo Tozzi, Mark Corcoran, Dara M. Cannon, Maria R. Dauvermann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


Childhood trauma (CT) has been repeatedly linked to earlier onset and greater severity of bipolar disorder (BD) in adulthood. However, such knowledge is mostly based on retrospective and cross-sectional studies in adults with BD. The first objective of this selective review is to characterize the short-term effects of CT in the development of BD by focusing on studies in young people. The second objective is to describe the longer-term consequences of CT by considering studies with adult participants. This review first outlines the most prominent hypotheses linking CT exposure and the onset of BD. Then, it sum-marizes the psychological and biological risk factors implicated in the development of BD, followed by a discussion of original studies that investigated the role of CT in young people with early-onset BD, youths at increased risk of developing BD, or young people with BD with a focus on subclinical and clinical outcome measures. The review considers additional biological and psychological factors associated with a negative impact of CT on the long-term course of BD in later adulthood. Finally, we discuss how the integration of information of CT can improve ongoing early identification of BD and mitigate severe clinical expression in later adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3095-3115
Number of pages21
JournalNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Quidé et al.


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Brain
  • Childhood trauma
  • Early onset
  • Peripheral blood marker
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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