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See detailEine Meta-Analytische Untersuchung des sozioökonomischen Status als Risikofaktor für postpartale Depression
Hehlmann, Miriam I.; Schaan, Violetta UL; Rubel, Julian

in Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie (in press)

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See detailBlunted endocrine response to a combined physical-cognitive stressor in adults with early life adversity
Hengesch, X.; Elwenspoek, M.M.C.; Schaan, Violetta UL et al

in Child Abuse & Neglect (2018)

The negative health effects of early life adversity (ELA) continue long into adulthood. Changes in the physiological response to psychosocial stressors have been proposed to mediate this effect. However ... [more ▼]

The negative health effects of early life adversity (ELA) continue long into adulthood. Changes in the physiological response to psychosocial stressors have been proposed to mediate this effect. However, many previous studies have come to contradicting conclusions as to whether ELA induces a long-term increase or decrease in stress reactivity. Therefore, we tested the association of ELA exposure and adult stress reactivity in a sample of early life adoptees and controls.Two previously validated stressful elements (bilateral feet CPT and the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT)) were combined in an extended Cold Pressor Test (CPT). This test was performed on 22 participants who had experienced severe ELA (separation from biological parents, institutionalization, and adoption in early childhood), and in 22 age-matched control participants.A prior history of ELA was associated with blunted reactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis (Cohen´s d = 0.680). Cardiovascular reactivity remained unchanged, and affective reactivity (self-report ratings) were increased in participants exposed to ELA compared to the control group (range Cohen´s d: 0.642–0.879).Our results suggest that the activity of the HPA axis reactivity was inhibited in ELA participants. Importantly, cardiovascular stress responsiveness was not affected by ELA. This separation of the HPA axis and cardiovascular stress responses may best be explained by ELA selectively enhancing central feedback-sensitivity to glucocorticoids, but preserving cardiovascular/ autonomic stress reactivity. [less ▲]

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See detailProinflammatory T Cell Status Associated with Early Life Adversity
Elwenspoek, M.M.C.; Hemgesch, X.; Leenen, F.A.D et al

in Journal of Immunology (2017)

Early life adversity (ELA) has been associated with an increased risk for diseases in which the immune system plays a critical role. The ELA immune phenotype is characterized by inflammation, impaired ... [more ▼]

Early life adversity (ELA) has been associated with an increased risk for diseases in which the immune system plays a critical role. The ELA immune phenotype is characterized by inflammation, impaired cellular immunity, and immunosenescence. However, data on cell-specific immune effects are largely absent. Additionally, stress systems and health behaviors are altered in ELA, which may contribute to the generation of the ELA immune phenotype. The present investigation tested cell-specific immune differences in relationship to the ELA immune phenotype, altered stress parameters, and health behaviors in individuals with ELA (n = 42) and those without a history of ELA (control, n = 73). Relative number and activation status (CD25, CD69, HLA-DR, CD11a, CD11b) of monocytes, NK cells, B cells, T cells, and their main subsets were assessed by flow cytometry. ELA was associated with significantly reduced numbers of CD69+CD8+ T cells (p = 0.022), increased numbers of HLA-DR+ CD4 and HLA-DR+ CD8 T cells (p < 0.001), as well as increased numbers of CD25+CD8+ T cells (p = 0.036). ELA also showed a trend toward higher numbers of CCR4+CXCR3−CCR6+ CD4 T cells. Taken together, our data suggest an elevated state of immune activation in ELA, in which particularly T cells are affected. Although several aspects of the ELA immune phenotype were related to increased activation markers, neither stress nor health-risk behaviors explained the observed group differences. Thus, the state of immune activation in ELA does not seem to be secondary to alterations in the stress system or health-risk behaviors, but rather a primary effect of early life programming on immune cells. [less ▲]

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See detailT cell immunosenescence after early life adversity: association with cytomegalovirus infection.
Elwenspoek, M.M.C.; Sias, K.; Hengesch, X. et al

in Frontiers in Immunology (2017), 8

Early life adversity (ELA) increases the risk for multiple age-related diseases, such as diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular disease. As prevalence is high, ELA poses a major and global public health ... [more ▼]

Early life adversity (ELA) increases the risk for multiple age-related diseases, such as diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular disease. As prevalence is high, ELA poses a major and global public health problem. Immunosenescence, or aging of the immune system, has been proposed to underlie the association between ELA and long-term health consequences. However, it is unclear what drives ELA-associated immunosenescence and which cells are primarily affected. We investigated different biomarkers of immunosenescence in a healthy subset of the EpiPath cohort. Participants were either parent-reared (Ctrl, n = 59) or had experienced separation from their parents in early childhood and were subsequently adopted (ELA, n = 18). No difference was observed in telomere length or in methylation levels of age-related CpGs in whole blood, containing a heterogeneous mixture of immune cells. However, when specifically investigating T cells, we found a higher expression of senescence markers (CD57) in ELA. In addition, senescent T cells (CD57+) in ELA had an increased cytolytic potential compared to senescent cells in controls. With a mediation analysis we demonstrated that cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, which is an important driving force of immunosenescence, largely accounted for elevated CD57 expression observed in ELA. Leukocyte telomere length may obscure cell-specific immunosenescence; here, we demonstrated that the use of cell surface markers of senescence can be more informative. Our data suggest that ELA may increase the risk of CMV infection in early childhood, thereby mediating the effect of ELA on T cell-specific immunosenescence. Thus, future studies should include CMV as a confounder or selectively investigate CMV seronegative cohorts. [less ▲]

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See detailLangzeitkonsequenzen von frühkindlichem Stress
Schaan, Violetta UL; Schulz, André UL; Vögele, Claus UL

Poster (2017)

Traumatische Belastungen während der Kindheit können das Risiko für die Entwicklung unsicherer Bindungsstile erhöhen, die bereits mit langfristigen psychischen und körperlichen Gesundheitsproblemen in ... [more ▼]

Traumatische Belastungen während der Kindheit können das Risiko für die Entwicklung unsicherer Bindungsstile erhöhen, die bereits mit langfristigen psychischen und körperlichen Gesundheitsproblemen in Beziehung gebracht wurden. Die zugrundeliegenden Prozesse sind allerdings noch weitestgehend unklar. Wir präsentieren zwei Studien, die den Zusammenhang zwischen kindlichem Stress und Gesundheit im Erwachsenenalter sowie Körperwahrnehmung und Gedächtnisfähigkeit untersuchen. In der ersten Studie nahmen 199 Teilnehmer an einer Onlineumfrage teil, bei der Gesundheit, frühkindliches Trauma, Resilienz und Zurückweisungssensitivität gemessen wurden. Teilnehmer mit geschiedenen Eltern berichteten erhöhte psychische Belastungswerte, kindliches Trauma, Zurückweisungssensitivität und weniger Resilienz. Die Beziehung zwischen elterlicher Scheidung und psychischer Gesundheit konnte vollständig durch diese vier Faktoren erklärt werden (Varianzaufklärung 44%). In einer zweiten Studie wurden bei 60 Teilnehmern verschiedene Selbstbericht-Parameter erhoben und die Gedächtnis- und Interozeptionsfähigkeit vor und nach einem Stresstest untersucht. Erwachsene mit einer Vorgeschichte von elterlicher Trennung berichteten mehr bindungsbezogene Angst und Vermeidung als Kontrollpersonen. Das Erlebnis einer elterlichen Scheidung war negativ mit der Gedächtnisleistung nach dem Stresstest korreliert. Weiterhin weisen die Ergebnisse auf einen quadratischen Zusammenhang zwischen Stress und Interozeptionsfähigkeit hin. [less ▲]

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See detailLangzeitkonsequenzen von frühkindlichem Stress: quadratischer Zusammenhang zwischen Stress und Interozeptionsfähigkeit
Schaan, Violetta UL; Schulz, André UL; Vögele, Claus UL

in Schächinger, H. (Ed.) Abstractband 43. Tagung Psychologie und Gehirn (2017)

Traumatische Belastungen während der Kindheit können das Risiko für die Entwicklung unsicherer Bindungsstile erhöhen, die bereits mit langfristigen psychischen und körperlichen Gesundheitsproblemen in ... [more ▼]

Traumatische Belastungen während der Kindheit können das Risiko für die Entwicklung unsicherer Bindungsstile erhöhen, die bereits mit langfristigen psychischen und körperlichen Gesundheitsproblemen in Beziehung gebracht wurden. Die zugrundeliegenden Prozesse sind allerdings noch weitestgehend unklar. Da interozeptive Signale die Regulation negativer Emotionen als Reaktion auf sozialer Zurückweisung begünstigen können, die infolge einer Stressbelastung verändert sein könnten, wurde insbesondere der Effekt von kindlichem Stress auf Interozeption untersucht. Wir präsentieren zwei Studien, die den Zusammenhang zwischen kindlichem Stress und Gesundheit im Erwachsenenalter sowie Körperwahrnehmung und Gedächtnisfähigkeit untersuchen. In der ersten Studie nahmen 199 Teilnehmer an einer Onlineumfrage teil, bei der Gesundheit, frühkindliches Trauma, Resilienz und Zurückweisungssensitivität gemessen wurden. Teilnehmer mit geschiedenen Eltern berichteten erhöhte psychische Belastungswerte, kindliches Trauma, Zurückweisungssensitivität und weniger Resilienz. Die Beziehung zwischen elterlicher Scheidung und psychischer Gesundheit konnte vollständig durch diese vier Faktoren erklärt werden (Varianzaufklärung 44%). In einer zweiten Studie wurden bei 60 Teilnehmern verschiedene Selbstberichts-Parameter erhoben und die Gedächtnis- und Interozeptionsfähigkeit (Schandry Herzschlagwahrnehmungstest/EKG) vor und nach einem sozial-evaluativen Kaltwasser-Stresstest untersucht. Die Reaktion des autonomen Nervensystems wurde mithilfe von Herzraten- und Blutdruckvariabilität bestimmt. Erwachsene mit einer Vorgeschichte von elterlicher Trennung berichteten mehr bindungsbezogene Angst und Vermeidung als Kontrollpersonen. Das Erlebnis einer elterlichen Scheidung war negativ mit der Gedächtnisleistung nach dem Stresstest korreliert. Weiterhin weisen die Ergebnisse auf einen quadratischen Zusammenhang zwischen kindlicher Stressbelastung und Interozeptionsfähigkeit hin. Basierend auf diesen Ergebnissen könnte ein ‚gesunder Normbereich‘ der Interozeptionsfähigkeit existieren. Kindlicher Stress könnte sowohl eine Verringerung, als auch eine Erhöhung der Interozeptionsfähigkeit bewirken, was beides mit gesundheitlichen Problemen assoziiert sein könnte. [less ▲]

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See detailResilience and rejection sensitivity mediate long-term outcomes of parental divorce
Schaan, Violetta UL; Vögele, Claus UL

in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2016), 25(11), 1267-1269

Introduction: Increasing divorce rates leave more and more children to deal with the separation of their parents. Recent research suggests that children of divorced parents more often experience ... [more ▼]

Introduction: Increasing divorce rates leave more and more children to deal with the separation of their parents. Recent research suggests that children of divorced parents more often experience psychological and physical symptoms than children of non-divorced parents. The processes that mediate the relationship between parental divorce and ill-health, however, are still elusive. The current study investigated the mediating role of psychological factors such as resilience and rejection sensitivity on the long-term consequences of parental divorce in young adults. Methods: One hundred and ninety-nine participants (mean age 22.3 years) completed an online survey including measures of mental health, childhood trauma, resilience and rejection sensitivity. Results: Participants with divorced parents (33%) reported increased levels of psychological symptoms, childhood trauma, rejection sensitivity and lower levels of resilience. The association between parental divorce and mental health was fully mediated by resilience, rejection sensitivity and childhood trauma. The mediation model explained up to 44% of the total variance in mental health symptoms. Discussion: Resilience and rejection sensitivity are crucial factors for successful coping with the experience of parental separation. Prevention programs that help to boost children’s resilience might help to reduce the long-term effects of parental divorce on their attachment style (e.g. rejection sensitivity), thereby improving their mental health on the long run. Furthermore, the results call for parental awareness and counseling to target and reduce the observed increased level of childhood trauma. Limitations concern the cross-sectional and retrospective design of the study. [less ▲]

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See detailCardiac modulation of startle is altered in depersonalization-/derealization disorder: evidence for impaired brainstem representation of baro-afferent neural traffic
Schulz, André UL; Matthey, J. H.; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Psychiatry Research (2016), 240(1), 4-10

Patients with depersonalization-/derealization disorder (DPD) show altered heartbeat-evoked brain potentials, which are considered psychophysiological indicators of cortical representation of visceral ... [more ▼]

Patients with depersonalization-/derealization disorder (DPD) show altered heartbeat-evoked brain potentials, which are considered psychophysiological indicators of cortical representation of visceral-afferent neural signals. The aim of the current investigation was to clarify whether the impaired CNS representation of visceral-afferent neural signals in DPD is restricted to the cortical level or is also present in sub-cortical structures. We used cardiac modulation of startle (CMS) to assess baro-afferent signal transmission at brainstem level in 22 DPD and 23 healthy control individuals. The CMS paradigm involved acoustic startle stimuli (105 dB(A), 50 ms) elicited 0, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500 ms after a cardiac R-wave. In healthy control individuals, we observed lower startle responses at 100 and 300 ms than at 0 and 400 ms after an R-wave. In DPD patients, no effect of the cardiac cycle on startle response magnitude was found. We conclude that the representation of visceral-afferent neural signals at brainstem level may be deficient in DPD. This effect may be due to increased peripheral sympathetic tone or to dysregulated signal processing at brainstem level. [less ▲]

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See detailEarly life adversity associates with increased depressive symptoms and few active T cells in adulthood
Elwenspoek, Martha; Schaan, Violetta UL; Hengesch, Xenia et al

Poster (2016, June)

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See detailEarly life adversity and rejection sensitivity
Schaan, Violetta UL; Vögele, Claus UL

in Early life adversity and rejection sensitivity (2016)

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See detailParental Mediation of Children’s Television and Video Game Use in Germany: Active and Embedded in Family Processes
Schaan, Violetta UL; Melzer, André UL

in Journal of Children and Media (2015), 9(1), 58-76

In a survey study, 158 dyads of German parents and their 9 to 12-year-old children reported on their television and video game (VG) consumption, parental mediation strategies, and family climate. Parents ... [more ▼]

In a survey study, 158 dyads of German parents and their 9 to 12-year-old children reported on their television and video game (VG) consumption, parental mediation strategies, and family climate. Parents also reported their beliefs concerning media effects. We found that mediation strategies differ from acknowledged media usage conceptions in that parents play a more active role than previously assumed. Restrictive mediation comprises rules and restrictions, but also parents’ educative explanations that media do not reflect reality. Patronizing mediation includes shared media consumption, but also parents commenting on media contents. Pointing out and emphasizing socio-emotional features in the media (e.g., empathy) characterize active-emotional co-use (AEC). Regression analyses revealed that parental fear of negative media effects predicted both AEC and restrictive mediation. Children and parents’ congruent perceptions of family interactions predicted AEC and patronizing VG mediation. Overall, positive ratings of family interactions were associated with children using media less frequently. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Good Side of Pride: When Being Proud Protects Us From Suggestions.
Schaan, Violetta UL; Walther, Eva

Poster (2015)

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See detailEmotions matter: Affektive und kardiale Modulation der Schreckreaktion
Schaan, Violetta UL; Schächinger, H.; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Kaiser, J.; Fiebach, C. (Eds.) 41. Tagung Psychologie und Gehirn - Abstracts der Beiträge (2015)

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See detailRecycle your stress! How the interpretation of acute stress influences blood pressure, cognitive performance and rumination
Schaan, Violetta UL; Walther, Eva

Poster (2014)

Reappraising arousal boosts efficient sympathetic activation and analytic performance. We investigated if mindful awareness of bodily changes without positive re-evaluation of this perception also helps ... [more ▼]

Reappraising arousal boosts efficient sympathetic activation and analytic performance. We investigated if mindful awareness of bodily changes without positive re-evaluation of this perception also helps to buffer against negative stress responses. Taken together the results suggest that both mindfulness and reappraisal influence stress-related blood pressure, working memory performance and rumination. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Good, The Bad, and The Oxytocin: context-specific facilitation of helping.
Schaan, Violetta UL; Reilly, Katherine; Hawley, Kathryn et al

Poster (2013)

Evidence suggests that oxytocin might facilitate helping behavior. Participants (N =122) were tested in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial with intranasal oxytocin. Helping behavior was 1 ... [more ▼]

Evidence suggests that oxytocin might facilitate helping behavior. Participants (N =122) were tested in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial with intranasal oxytocin. Helping behavior was 1) shaped by stimulus valence, 2) triggered by social stimuli and 3) sensitive to social group (animals vs. humans). [less ▲]

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See detailSex-related effects of oxytocin on interpersonal closeness and emotional accuracy.
Hawley, Kathryn; Reilly, Katherine; Schaan, Violetta UL et al

Poster (2013)

The effects of oxytocin might be sexual dimorphic. Male and female participants (N=122; 49% females) were tested using intranasal spray in a double-blind randomized, OT vs. placebo-controlled trial. OT ... [more ▼]

The effects of oxytocin might be sexual dimorphic. Male and female participants (N=122; 49% females) were tested using intranasal spray in a double-blind randomized, OT vs. placebo-controlled trial. OT-men reported an increase in interpersonal closeness and higher emotional accuracy relative to OT-women; placebo conditions did not yield sex differences. [less ▲]

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