Influence of early life stress on psychophysiology in psychiatric patients


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WEBER, Katja, 2009. Influence of early life stress on psychophysiology in psychiatric patients [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz

@phdthesis{Weber2009Influ-10353, title={Influence of early life stress on psychophysiology in psychiatric patients}, year={2009}, author={Weber, Katja}, address={Konstanz}, school={Universität Konstanz} }

2011-03-25T09:16:17Z Weber, Katja Influence of early life stress on psychophysiology in psychiatric patients application/pdf Einfluss kindlicher Stresserfahrungen auf die Psychophysiologie in psychiatrischen Patienten Weber, Katja 2009 The role of stress in the development and continuation of psychiatric disorders has been addressed in the context of different mental disorders. This dissertation aims at clarifying the effects of adverse experiences in psychiatric patients, which may add to the individual vulnerability for a psychiatric disorder. Drawing on the concept of allostatic load, we aimed to characterize a subgroup of patients through their specific stress-related psychophysiological response profile (symptom severity, altered neuroendocrine measures, and altered functional brain response), independent of the psychiatric diagnosis.<br />Adult inpatients (n= 102) with diagnoses of major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and drug addiction were compared to healthy subjects (n= 31) comparable in age and gender distribution to the patient group. Adverse experiences were determined through interview (ETI and PDS), which retrospectively assessed experiences of emotional neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or traumatic events in different periods of life (between birth and present age). Stressful experiences of the mother during pregnancy were also a subject of enquiry. Psychiatric patients had experienced more prenatal stress, more adverse experiences in the time period from birth and the individual onset of puberty, and more lifetime traumatic events than healthy controls. Stress load before puberty in all participants was related to emotional, clinical, cortical, and neuroendocrine measures. A subset of patients with high early life stress (ELS) exhibited a characteristic psychophysiological response profile: high ELS was related to affective symptoms and PTSD, severity of disorder, dampened cortical activation by affective stimuli, elevated diurnal salivary cortisol profile and more pronounced salivary cortisol response to the magnetoencephalographic session, in which participants monitored affective pictures. As ELS was not evenly distributed among diagnoses, the assumption that can be drawn is that stress load during sensitive periods of brain development interacts with other environmental and vulnerability factors in its influence on mental illness. Results are discussed on the basis of current literature and a model integrating candidate variables in their impact on development of psychiatric disorders is suggested. eng terms-of-use 2011-03-25T09:16:17Z

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