Bullying and psychosis: The impact of chronic traumatic stress on psychosis risk in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome - a uniquely vulnerable population

Danessa Mayo, Khalima A. Bolden, Tony J Simon, Tara A Niendam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Bullying is an adverse childhood experience that is more common among youth with special needs and is associated with increased psychopathology throughout the lifespan. Individuals with chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q) represent one group of special needs youth who are at increased risk for bullying due to co-occurring genetically-mediated developmental, physical, and learning difficulties. Furthermore, individuals with 22q are at increased risk for developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. However, there is a paucity of research exploring the impact of bullying on individuals with 22q and the possible impact this has on risk for psychosis in this population. To explore this relationship using existing research the goals of the review are: (i) to explore the nature of bullying among youth with special needs, and (ii) to discuss its potential role as a specific risk factor in the development of adverse outcomes, including psychosis symptoms. We reviewed the relationship between bullying and its short and long-term effects on the cognitive, social, and developmental functioning of typically developing individuals and those with special needs. We propose an interactive relationship between trauma, stress, and increased psychosis risk among youth with 22q with a history of bullying. The early childhood experience of trauma in the form of bullying promotes an altered developmental trajectory that may elevate the risk for maladaptive functioning and subsequent psychotic disorders, particularly in youth with genetic vulnerabilities. Therefore, we conclude the experience of bullying among individuals with 22q should be more closely examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • 22q11.2 deletion syndrome
  • Bullying
  • Chronic stress
  • DiGeorge syndrome
  • Psychosis
  • Trauma
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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