Klinische Psychologie




Childhood Trauma as a Transdiagnostic Risk Factor for Psychopathology


Sabrina Boger, Gabriela Werner, Larissa Wolkenstein, Thomas Ehring


Psychosomatische Klinik Windach (Dr. med. Götz Berberich & Dr. med. Isabelle Lang-Rollin),
Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie der LMU (PD Dr. Gabi Koller),
Prof. Dr. Corinna Reck (Dept. Psychologie, LMU)


Over the past decades, childhood trauma has emerged as a risk factor for the development and maintenance of psychopathology. Specifically, higher prevalence rates of early trauma have been found for nearly all mental disorders, with particularly high numbers for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, childhood trauma has been associated with an earlier onset of mental disorders, a more severe and chronical time course as well as reduced rates of treatment success. However, processes that might underlie this relationship are still not clear. It has been shown that various factors, for example biological factors, play a role in the relationship between early trauma and mental disorders, but research investigating the influence of psychological factors like social interactions, emotion regulation, sleep disturbances, attachment or individual post-traumatic symptoms is surprisingly rare. These investigations are highly relevant in order to identify potential targets for psychological interventions.

Our group is currently conducting a series of studies investigating psychological mediators between childhood trauma and psychopathology in adulthood, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Major Depression, and Substance Use Disorder.
In collaboration with Prof. Dr. Corinna Reck, we are additionally investigating characteristics of parent-child interactions in survivors of childhood trauma.


  • Klumparendt, A., Nelson, J., Barenbrügge, J. & Ehring, T. (2019). Associations between childhood maltreatment and adult depression: A mediation analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 19: 36. https://doi.org/10.118/s12888-019-2016-8
  • Nelson, J., Klumparendt, A., Doebler, P., & Ehring, T. (2017). Childhood maltreatment and characteristics of adult depression: A meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 210, 96-104. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.115.180752
  • Schierholz, A., Krüger, A., Barenbrügge, J. & Ehring, T. (2016). What mediates the link between childhood trauma and depression? The role of emotion dysregulation, attachment, and attributional style. European Journal of Psychotraumatology. 7: 32652. doi: 10.3402/ejpt.v7.32652