Reference : The impact of traumatic childhood experiences on interoception: disregarding one’s ow...
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Neurosciences & behavior
The impact of traumatic childhood experiences on interoception: disregarding one’s own body
Schmitz, Marius []
Back, Sarah []
Seitz, Katja []
Harbrecht, Nele []
Streckert, Lena []
Schulz, André mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS) >]
Herpertz, Sabine []
Bertsch, Katja []
Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation
United Kingdom
[en] Background Deficient interoception, the processing and perception of internal bodily signals, has been discussed as
a mechanism underlying various mental disorders. First results indicate a mediating role of interoception in the interplay
of traumatic childhood experiences and adult mental disorders. Traumatic childhood experiences may hinder the
adequate processing, integration, and trust in bodily signals that are important in order to understand and regulate
own needs and emotions, thereby increasing the vulnerability for mental disorders. However, an overarching study
investigating alterations in different interoceptive measures and trauma-related disorders as well as their mediating
role between early trauma and emotion dysregulation is still missing.
Methods One hundred thirty-six individuals with varying levels of traumatic childhood experiences who either had
a current diagnosis of major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, or somatic symptom disorder, or no mental
disorder, took part in a multidimensional assessment of interoceptive processes, including interoceptive accuracy,
sensibility, and awareness. Kruskal–Wallis tests were used to compare groups regarding interoceptive processes and
associations with traumatic childhood experiences and emotion dysregulation were analyzed with Spearman correlations.
Furthermore, mediation analyses were computed to examine and compare interoceptive processes as potential
mediators between traumatic childhood experiences and emotion dysregulation.
Results Only body dissociation, a measure for interoceptive sensibility, was significantly reduced in individuals with
a current mental disorder. Body dissociation was also the only interoceptive measure significantly associated with
traumatic childhood experiences and emotion dysregulation and the only significant mediator in the relationship
between traumatic childhood experiences and emotion dysregulation across groups.
Conclusion Results suggest body dissociation, but not other interoceptive measures, as an important feature linking
traumatic childhood experiences to current emotion dysregulation, an important transdiagnostic feature. As body
dissociation refers to a habitual non-attendance or disregard of interoceptive signals, integrative therapeutic interventions
could help affected individuals to overcome difficulties in emotion perception and regulation.

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