Limbic brain responses in mothers with post-traumatic stress disorder and comorbid dissociation to video clips of their children.

Moser, Dominik Andreas; Aue, Tatjana; Wang, Zhishun; Rusconi Serpa, Sandra; Favez, Nicolas; Peterson, Bradley Scott; Schechter, Daniel Scott (2013). Limbic brain responses in mothers with post-traumatic stress disorder and comorbid dissociation to video clips of their children. Stress - the international journal on the biology of stress, 16(5), pp. 493-502. Taylor & Francis 10.3109/10253890.2013.816280

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Maternal dissociative symptoms which can be comorbid with interpersonal violence-related post-traumatic stress disorder (IPV-PTSD) have been linked to decreased sensitivity and responsiveness to children's emotional communication. This study examined the influence of dissociation on neural activation independently of IPV-PTSD symptom severity when mothers watch video-stimuli of their children during stressful and non-stressful mother-child interactions. Based on previous observations in related fields, we hypothesized that more severe comorbid dissociation in IPV-PTSD would be associated with lower limbic system activation and greater neural activity in regions of the emotion regulation circuit such as the medial prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). Twenty mothers (of children aged 12-42 months), with and without IPV-PTSD watched epochs showing their child during separation and play while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Multiple regression indicated that when mothers diagnosed with IPV-PTSD watched their children during separation compared to play, dissociative symptom severity was indeed linked to lowered activation within the limbic system, while greater IPV-PTSD symptom severity was associated with heightened limbic activity. Concerning emotion regulation areas, there was activation associated to dissociation in the right dlPFC. Our results are likely a neural correlate of affected mothers' reduced capacity for sensitive responsiveness to their young child following exposure to interpersonal stress, situations that are common in day-to-day parenting.

Item Type: Journal Article (Original Article)
Division/Institute: 07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
UniBE Contributor: Aue, Tatjana
Subjects: 100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
ISSN: 1025-3890
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Language: English
Submitter: Tatjana Aue
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2015 11:55
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2015 11:55
Publisher DOI: 10.3109/10253890.2013.816280
PubMed ID: 23777332
URI: http://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/71218

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