Effects of Childhood Trauma on the Biological Correlates of Stress in Men and Women with Borderline Mental Disorders
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Objectives. To detect gender-related differences in the biological characteristics of stress in patients with borderline mental disorders and their relationship with childhood trauma. Materials and methods. A total of 308 women and 92 men aged 18–45 years were studied. Biochemical indicators of stress were serum hormone levels reflecting the activity of the hypothalamo-hypophyseal-adrenal axis (cortisol) and the hypophyseal-thyroid system (HTS), along with immunological indicators – cytokine levels (IL-1β and IL-6) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Childhood trauma was assessed on the Child Abuse and Trauma Scale (CATS). Correlation analysis was run in subgroups of men and women with depressive disorders to study the link between childhood trauma and the severity of depression and anxiety on psychometric scales (the Beck, Hamilton, and Spielberger scales) and the biological indicators identified above. Results and conclusions. Men and women were significantly different in terms of the distribution of the borderline disorders identified and the severity of depressive and anxious symptomatology. The main result was the finding of a correlation between subjective assessment of the level of mental trauma in childhood and the morning serum cortisol level in the group of men with depressive disorders; this was not seen in women.
Keywordstress mental trauma in childhood cortisol depressive disorders
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