Dose-dependent changes in real-life affective well-being in healthy community-based individuals with mild to moderate childhood trauma exposure

Oksana Berhe, Carolin Moessnang, Markus Reichert, Ren Ma, Anna Höflich, Jonas Tesarz, Christine M Heim, Ulrich Ebner-Priemer, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Heike Tost

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Childhood trauma exposures (CTEs) are frequent, well-established risk factor for the development of psychopathology. However, knowledge of the effects of CTEs in healthy individuals in a real life context, which is crucial for early detection and prevention of mental disorders, is incomplete. Here, we use ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to investigate CTE load-dependent changes in daily-life affective well-being and psychosocial risk profile in n = 351 healthy, clinically asymptomatic, adults from the community with mild to moderate CTE.

FINDINGS: EMA revealed significant CTE dose-dependent decreases in real-life affective valence (p = 0.007), energetic arousal (p = 0.032) and calmness (p = 0.044). Psychosocial questionnaires revealed a broad CTE-related psychosocial risk profile with dose-dependent increases in mental health risk-associated features (e.g., trait anxiety, maladaptive coping, loneliness, daily hassles; p values < 0.003) and a corresponding decrease in factors protective for mental health (e.g., life satisfaction, adaptive coping, optimism, social support; p values < 0.021). These results were not influenced by age, sex, socioeconomic status or education.

CONCLUSIONS: Healthy community-based adults with mild to moderate CTE exhibit dose-dependent changes in well-being manifesting in decreases in affective valence, calmness and energy in real life settings, as well as a range of established psychosocial risk features associated with mental health risk. This indicates an approach to early detection, early intervention, and prevention of CTE-associated psychiatric disorders in this at-risk population, using ecological momentary interventions (EMI) in real life, which enhance established protective factors for mental health, such as green space exposure, or social support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Pages (from-to)14
JournalBorderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Dysregulation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2023


  • Childhood trauma exposure
  • Community sample
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Mental health risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental Health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Biological Psychiatry


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