Previous studies of bipolar disorders indicate that childhood abuse and substance abuse are associated with the disorder. Whether both influence the clinical picture, or if one is mediating the association of the other, has not previously been investigated.
A total of 587 patients with bipolar disorders were recruited from Norway and France. A history of childhood abuse was obtained using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Diagnosis and clinical variables, including substance abuse, were based on structured clinical interviews (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I disorders or French version of the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies).
Cannabis abuse was significantly associated with childhood abuse, specifically emotional and sexual abuse (? 2 = 8.63, p = 0.003 and ? 2 = 7.55, p = 0.006, respectively). Cannabis abuse was significantly associated with earlier onset of the illness (z = -4.17, p