Effects of early and lifetime stress on neurobiological functioning in healthy and clinical PTSD populations

Proposal details

Title: Effects of early and lifetime stress on neurobiological functioning in healthy and clinical PTSD populations
Research Area(s): PTSD and other Anxiety Disorders
Background: This research is the first of 3 parts in a PhD project investigating the effects of early life and lifetime stress on neurobiological function among healthy and clinical PTSD adult populations. Identifying biomarkers associated with early life stress (including type, frequency, age of occurrence of stress) in healthy controls will assist in identification of biomarkers within clinical populations that differentiate between PTSD subgroups presenting with more chronic and complex symptom courses. This research will focus on autonomic arousal and neuroimaging measures at baseline and task-related – in particular emotion processing - as these have been well studied in PTSD literature as showing changes in function and responsivity during emotion processing.
Aims: Part 1 - That early life stress factors in healthy controls will be associated with changes in autonomic and neurobiological functioning when compared to those without early life or significant (Criterion A) lifetime stress. Parts 2-3 - That PTSD populations will show changes in similar measures to a greater degree depending on the type, frequency and age of occurrence of early life stress; and that these changes may be further associated with greater chronicity and complexity of PTSD symptomatology.
Method: Demographic and clinical data to be investigated includes: - Adults age 18-65 - Measures of early life stress and lifetime stress - no hx head injury - standardised self-report measures DASS, NEO-FFI, EQ, CAPS - trait factors Emotional Resilience, Negativity Bias, Social Skills Biomarkers: - Heart rate - Skin conductance - Startle EMG - tonic and phasic EEG (EO/EC) - asymmetry EEG - ERP (Emotion faces – conscious/nonconscious)