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Forschung & Nachwuchsförderung

Die Nachwuchs- und Forschungsförderung ist ein wichtiger Bereich innerhalb der DeGPT. Sowohl durch jährliche Preise der Falk-von-Reichenbachstiftung und der Elfriede-Dietrich-Stiftung als auch durch die Summer School und die DeGPT-Jahrestagungsstipendien unterstützten und fördern wir das wissenschaftliche Arbeiten junger Kolleg:innen. Die Forschungsergebnisse im deutschsprachigen Raum werden in der Fachzeitschrift Trauma & Gewalt – Forschung und Praxisfelder des Klett-Cotta Verlages publiziert. Im internationalen Raum nimmt das European Journal of Psychotraumatology diese Rolle ein, herausgegeben von der European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS).

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Das European Journal of Psychotraumatology (EJPT) ist das offizielle Journal der ESTSS.
Die Artikel sind frei verfügbar (open access): www.tandfonline.com

Finden Sie hier ausgewählte Abstracts des EJPT

The Influence of Childhood Emotional Neglect Experience on Brain Dynamic Functional Connectivity in Young Adults

Background: Childhood emotional neglect (CEN) confers a great risk for developing multiple psychiatric disorders; however, the neural basis for this association remains unknown. Using a dynamic functional connectivity approach, this study aimed to examine the effects of CEN experience on functional brain networks in young adults.

Method: In total, 21 healthy young adults with CEN experience and 26 without childhood trauma experience were recruited. The childhood trauma experience was assessed using the childhood trauma questionnaire (CTQ), and eligible participants underwent resting-state functional MRI. Sliding windows and k-means clustering were used to identify temporal features of large-scale functional connectivity states (frequency, mean dwell time, and transition numbers).

Results: Dynamic analysis revealed two separate connection states: state 1 was more frequent and characterized by extensive weak connections between the brain regions. State 2 was relatively infrequent and characterized by extensive strong connections between the brain regions. Compared to the control group, the CEN group had a longer mean dwell time in state 1 and significantly decreased transition numbers between states 1 and 2.

Conclusions: The CEN experience affects the temporal properties of young adults' functional brain connectivity. Young adults with CEN experience tend to be stable in state 1 (extensive weak connections between the brain regions), reducing transitions between states, and reflecting impaired metastability or functional network flexibility.  

Keywords: childhood emotional neglect, dynamic functional connectivity, brain flexibility, metastability, young adults

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Data sharing and re-use in the traumatic stress field: An international survey of trauma researchers

Background: The FAIR data principles aim to make scientific data more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. In the field of traumatic stress research, FAIR data practices can help accelerate scientific advances to improve clinical practice and can reduce participant burden. Previous studies have identified factors that influence data sharing and re-use among scientists, such as normative pressure, perceived career benefit, scholarly altruism, and availability of data repositories. No prior study has examined researcher views and practices regarding data sharing and re-use in the traumatic stress field.

Objective: To investigate the perspectives and practices of traumatic stress researchers around the world concerning data sharing, re-use, and the implementation of FAIR data principles in order to inform development of a FAIR Data Toolkit for traumatic stress researchers.

Method: A total of 222 researchers from 28 countries participated in an online survey available in seven languages, assessing their views on data sharing and re-use, current practices, and potential facilitators and barriers to adopting FAIR data principles.

Results: The majority of participants held a positive outlook towards data sharing and re-use, endorsing strong scholarly altruism, ethical considerations supporting data sharing, and perceiving data re-use as advantageous for improving research quality and advancing the field. Results were largely consistent with prior surveys of scientists across a wide range of disciplines. A significant proportion of respondents reported instances of data sharing and re-use, but gold standard practices such as formally depositing data in established repositories were reported as infrequent. The study identifies potential barriers such as time constraints, funding, and familiarity with FAIR principles.

Conclusions: These results carry crucial implications for promoting change and devising a FAIR Data Toolkit tailored for traumatic stress researchers, emphasizing aspects such as study planning, data preservation, metadata standardization, endorsing data re-use, and establishing metrics to assess scientific and societal impact.

Keywords: FAIR data, data sharing, data re-use, research practices, traumatic stress research, researcher views

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Changes in comorbid depression following intensive trauma-focused treatment for PTSD and Complex PTSD

Background: The extent to which intensive trauma-focused therapy for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also effective in treating comorbid major depressive disorder (MDD) remains unclear.

Objective: The purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that brief intensive trauma-focused therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with significant reductions in depressive symptoms and loss of diagnostic status of MDD.

Method: A total of 334 adult patients with PTSD (189 patients who were also diagnosed with MDD) underwent a brief intensive trauma-focused treatment program consisting of EMDR therapy, prolonged exposure, physical activity, and psychoeducation. At pre-treatment, post-treatment and 6-month follow-up, severity and diagnostic status of PTSD and MDD were assessed. A linear mixed model was used to analyze changes in the severity of PTSD and MDD symptoms, whereas a generalized linear mixed model was used to determine changes in the MDD diagnostic status.

Results: Treatment resulted in a significant and strong decrease of PTSD and MDD symptoms at post-treatment (d = 2.34 and 1.22, respectively), and at 6-month follow-up (d = 1.67 and 0.73, respectively). The proportion of patients fulfilling the diagnostic status of MDD changed from 57% at pre-treatment to 33% at the 6-month follow-up. Although the initial response to treatment did not differ between patients with and without comorbid MDD, a significant relapse in symptoms of MDD was found after six months, which could be explained almost entirely by the presence of CPTSD at baseline.

Conclusions: The results support the notion that brief, intensive trauma-focused treatment is highly effective for individuals with PTSD and comorbid MDD. Because patients with CPTSD are vulnerable to relapse, this target group may require additional treatment.

Keywords: Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), major depressive disorder (MDD), intensive trauma focused treatment, EMDR therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, linear mixed model

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The ABCDE psychological first aid intervention decreases early PTSD symptoms but does not prevent it: results of a randomized-controlled trial

Background: Early Psychological First Aid (PFA) has been widely recommended for preventing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, its lack of empirical evidence of safety and effectiveness has been criticized.

Objective: To assess the effectiveness of PFA-ABCDE, an original PFA protocol, for preventing PTSD one month after the intervention and decreasing PTSD symptoms at one and six months of follow up.

Method: We assessed the eligibility of 1,140 adult survivors of recent trauma (≤ 72 hours) consulting five emergency departments in Chile. Two hundred twenty-one were randomized to receive either PFA-ABCDE (active listening, breathing retraining, categorization of needs, referral to ancillary services, and psychoeducation) or only psychoeducation. We used the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) to assess PTSD diagnosis. The Posttraumatic Checklist (PCL), the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), and a 0–10 points analogue visual scale were used to assess PTSD symptoms, depressive symptoms, and immediate distress relief after the intervention.

Results: We found no difference between the experimental and control groups in the frequency of PTSD one month after the intervention (PFA-ABCDE = 23/76 [30.3%], psychoeducation = 18/75 [24.0%], adjusted odds ratio = 1.39, 95% confidence interval = 0.63–3.07, p = .408). Immediately after the intervention, participants who received PFA-ABCDE reported greater distress relief (PFA-ABCDE mean = 9.06, psychoeducation mean = 8.55, Cohen’s d = 0.30, p = .038). Fewer PTSD symptoms were reported by those who received PFA-ABCDE one month after the intervention (PFA-ABCDE mean = 36.26, psychoeducation mean = 43.62, Cohen’s d = 0.42, p = .033). We found no difference in depressive symptoms at one-month follow up (p = .713) nor in PTSD symptoms six months after the intervention (p = .986).

Conclusions: PFA-ABCDE does not prevent PTSD diagnosis, but it provides immediate distress relief and decreases PTSD symptoms in the short term.

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Neural functional connectivity during rumination in individuals with adverse childhood experiences

Background: Childhood adversity has been associated with greater risk of developing psychopathology, altered processing of emotional stimuli, and changes in neural functioning. Although the neural correlates of rumination have been previously described, little is known about how adverse childhood experiences are related to brain functioning during rumination.

Objective: This study explored differences in neural functional connectivity between participants with and without histories of childhood adversity, controlling for tendency to ruminate, during resting-state and induction of rumination.

Method: A total of 86 adults (51 women) took part. Based on a diagnostic clinical interview, participants were divided into groups with and without adverse childhood experiences. All participants underwent resting-state imaging and a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan where they performed a rumination induction task.

Results: Individuals with childhood adversities differed from those without adverse experiences in seed-based functional connectivity from right angular gyrus and left superior frontal gyrus during the rumination task. There were also group differences during resting-state in seed-based functional connectivity from the right angular gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, and left superior frontal gyrus.

Conclusions: Childhood adversity is associated with altered brain functioning during rumination and resting-state, even after controlling for tendency to ruminate. Our results shed light on the consequences of early adversity. People who experienced childhood adversities differ from those with no adverse experiences in brain functional connectivity when engaged in negative repetitive self-referential thinking.

Keywords: trauma, stress, rumination, functional connectivity

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