The association between childhood trauma (CT) and psychotic-like experiences (PLEs) is well-established. Many previous studies have recognized wisdom as a protective factor for mental health, but its role in the relation between CT and PLEs remains unknown. We aimed to investigate the mediating effect of wisdom in the above association among Chinese college students.
We conducted a nationwide survey covering 9 colleges across China and recruited a total of 5873 students using online questionnaires between September 14 and October 18, 2021. Convenience sampling was adopted. We employed the San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE), the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-28), and the 15-item Positive Subscale of the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE-15) to measure the wisdom, CT and PLEs, respectively. Descriptive, correlation, and mediation analysis were utilized.
The positive correlation between CT and PLEs was well-replicated among college students (Pearson’s r = 0.30, p < 0.001). Wisdom was negatively associated with CT (Pearson’s r = − 0.46, p < 0.001) and frequency of PLEs (Pearson’s r = − 0.25, p < 0.001). Total wisdom scores partially mediated the relationship between cumulative childhood trauma, neglect, abuse and PLEs, separately. The mediated model respectively explained 21.9%, 42.54% and 18.27% of the effect of CT on PLEs. Our model further suggested that childhood trauma could be related to PLEs through decreasing the following wisdom components: decisiveness, emotional regulation and prosocial behavior.
For the first time, our results suggested that impaired wisdom played a role in the translation from childhood adversity to subclinical psychotic symptoms, implicating wisdom as a possible target for early intervention for psychosis among young individuals. Longitudinal work is warranted to verify the clinical implications.