Childhood Trauma Affects Stress-Related Interoceptive Accuracy

Violetta K. Schaan, André Schulz, Julian A. Rubel, Michael Bernstein, Gregor Domes, Hartmut Schächinger, Claus Vögele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Early life adversity (ELA) may cause permanent disturbances in brain–body signaling. These disturbances are thought to contribute to physical symptoms and emotional dysregulation in adulthood. The current study investigated the effects of childhood trauma on young adults’ interoceptive accuracy as an indicator of brain–body communication that may be dysregulated by ELA. Sixty-six participants completed an online questionnaire followed by a laboratory session including the socially evaluated cold pressor stress test during which ECG, salivary cortisol, and interoceptive accuracy were assessed. Childhood trauma was negatively related to interoceptive accuracy (IAc) after the stressor. This stress effect could not be observed for heart rate and cortisol, which were unrelated to IAc. Participants reporting higher baseline unpleasantness exhibited lower IAc after the stressor, while increases in unpleasantness due to the stressor were associated with higher IAc. Unpleasantness at baseline mediated the effect of childhood trauma on IAc after the stressor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number750
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
StatePublished - Oct 17 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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