Stress reactivity links childhood trauma exposure to an admixture of depressive, anxiety, and psychosis symptoms

Martine van Nierop*, Aleksandra Lecei, Inez Myin-Germeys, Dina Collip, Wolfgang Viechtbauer, Nele Jacobs, Catherine Derom, Evert Thiery, Jim van Os, Ruud van Winkel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Childhood trauma exposure has been associated with a clinically relevant mixed phenotype of psychopathology composed of depressive, anxiety, and psychosis symptoms, across healthy and clinical samples. Altered stress reactivity after exposure to childhood trauma may be a plausible underlying mechanism explaining this association. In a general population sample of female twins (T0 = 564; T1 = 483), associations between childhood trauma exposure and symptom profile (no symptoms, isolated symptoms, or a mixed phenotype) on the one hand, and daily life stress reactivity on the other were investigated. Daily life stress reactivity was measured using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), and was defined as negative affect reactivity to minor daily life stressors. Individuals exposed to childhood trauma who reported a mixed phenotype of psychopathology showed a significant increase in emotional reactivity to daily life stress (activity and social stress), compared with trauma-exposed individuals without a mixed phenotype. In the trauma-exposed mixed phenotype group, increased emotional reactivity to event-stress predicted more severe symptoms at +/- 14 month follow-up. This study found evidence that may link heightened emotional reactivity to stress in individuals with a trauma history to the risk for later comorbid psychopathology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-457
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume260
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • ESM
  • General population
  • Mixed phenotype
  • Daily life stressors
  • Psychopathology mechanism
  • Symptom development
  • Childhood trauma
  • DAILY-LIFE STRESS
  • GLUCOCORTICOID-RECEPTOR
  • EMOTIONAL REACTIVITY
  • GENDER-DIFFERENCES
  • MALTREATMENT
  • ABUSE
  • PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
  • RISK
  • ENVIRONMENT
  • RESILIENCE

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