The complex associations between early childhood adversity, heart rate variability, cluster B personality disorders, and aggression

Marija Jankovic, Stefan Bogaerts, Stéphanie Klein Tuente, Carlo Garofalo, Wim Veiling, Geert van Boxtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Early childhood adversity can cause an imbalance in the autonomic function, which may in turn lead to the development of trauma-spectrum disorders and aggressive behavior later in life. In the present study, we investigated the complex associations between early adversity, heart rate variability (HRV), cluster B personality disorders, and self-reported aggressive behavior in a group of 50 male forensic inpatients (M age = 41.16; SD = 10.72). Structural Equation Modeling analysis revealed that patients with cluster B personality disorders were more likely to have adverse early childhood experiences and reduced sympathetic dominance in response to a threat than patients without cluster B personality disorders. In addition, HRV and cluster B personality disorders did not significantly mediate the association between early childhood adversity and self-reported aggressive behavior. These findings are important for clinical practice to facilitate specific treatment programs for those affected.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

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