Publications by authors named "Peter Parzer"

119 Publications

Excessive and pathological Internet use - Risk-behavior or psychopathology?

Addict Behav 2021 12 9;123:107045. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Pathological Internet use (but only with respect to gaming) is classified as mental disorder in the ICD-11. However, there is a large group of adolescents showing excessive Internet use, which may rather be considered adolescent risk-behavior. The aim was to test whether pathological and excessive Internet use should be considered as "psychopathology" or "risk-behavior". A representative, cross-sectional sample of 11.110 students from 10 European Union countries was analyzed. Structural equation models, including the factors "risk-behavior" and "psychopathology" and the variables excessive and pathological Internet use, were tested against each other. "Risk-behavior" was operationalized by several risk-behaviors (e.g. drug abuse, truancy, etc). "Psychopathology" included measures of several mental disorders (e.g. depression, hyperactivity, etc). Excessive Internet use was assessed as the duration and frequency of Internet use. Pathological Internet use was assessed with the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (i.e., presence of addiction criteria). Excessive Internet use loaded on "risk-behavior" (λ = 0.484, p < .001) and on "psychopathology" (λ = 0.071, p < .007). Pathological Internet use loaded on "risk-behavior" (λ = 0.333, p < .001) and on "psychopathology" (λ = 0.852, p < .001). Chi-square tests determined that the loadings of excessive Internet use (χ (1) = 81.98, p < .001) were significantly stronger on "risk-behavior" than "psychopathology". Vice versa, pathological Internet use loaded significantly stronger on "psychopathology" (χ (1) = 107.10, p < .001). The results indicate that pathological Internet use should rather be considered as psychopathology. Excessive Internet use on the other hand, should be classified as adolescent risk-behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107045DOI Listing
December 2021

Excessive and pathological Internet use - Risk-behavior or psychopathology?

Addict Behav 2021 12 9;123:107045. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Pathological Internet use (but only with respect to gaming) is classified as mental disorder in the ICD-11. However, there is a large group of adolescents showing excessive Internet use, which may rather be considered adolescent risk-behavior. The aim was to test whether pathological and excessive Internet use should be considered as "psychopathology" or "risk-behavior". A representative, cross-sectional sample of 11.110 students from 10 European Union countries was analyzed. Structural equation models, including the factors "risk-behavior" and "psychopathology" and the variables excessive and pathological Internet use, were tested against each other. "Risk-behavior" was operationalized by several risk-behaviors (e.g. drug abuse, truancy, etc). "Psychopathology" included measures of several mental disorders (e.g. depression, hyperactivity, etc). Excessive Internet use was assessed as the duration and frequency of Internet use. Pathological Internet use was assessed with the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (i.e., presence of addiction criteria). Excessive Internet use loaded on "risk-behavior" (λ = 0.484, p < .001) and on "psychopathology" (λ = 0.071, p < .007). Pathological Internet use loaded on "risk-behavior" (λ = 0.333, p < .001) and on "psychopathology" (λ = 0.852, p < .001). Chi-square tests determined that the loadings of excessive Internet use (χ (1) = 81.98, p < .001) were significantly stronger on "risk-behavior" than "psychopathology". Vice versa, pathological Internet use loaded significantly stronger on "psychopathology" (χ (1) = 107.10, p < .001). The results indicate that pathological Internet use should rather be considered as psychopathology. Excessive Internet use on the other hand, should be classified as adolescent risk-behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107045DOI Listing
December 2021

Excessive and pathological Internet use - Risk-behavior or psychopathology?

Addict Behav 2021 12 9;123:107045. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Pathological Internet use (but only with respect to gaming) is classified as mental disorder in the ICD-11. However, there is a large group of adolescents showing excessive Internet use, which may rather be considered adolescent risk-behavior. The aim was to test whether pathological and excessive Internet use should be considered as "psychopathology" or "risk-behavior". A representative, cross-sectional sample of 11.110 students from 10 European Union countries was analyzed. Structural equation models, including the factors "risk-behavior" and "psychopathology" and the variables excessive and pathological Internet use, were tested against each other. "Risk-behavior" was operationalized by several risk-behaviors (e.g. drug abuse, truancy, etc). "Psychopathology" included measures of several mental disorders (e.g. depression, hyperactivity, etc). Excessive Internet use was assessed as the duration and frequency of Internet use. Pathological Internet use was assessed with the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (i.e., presence of addiction criteria). Excessive Internet use loaded on "risk-behavior" (λ = 0.484, p < .001) and on "psychopathology" (λ = 0.071, p < .007). Pathological Internet use loaded on "risk-behavior" (λ = 0.333, p < .001) and on "psychopathology" (λ = 0.852, p < .001). Chi-square tests determined that the loadings of excessive Internet use (χ (1) = 81.98, p < .001) were significantly stronger on "risk-behavior" than "psychopathology". Vice versa, pathological Internet use loaded significantly stronger on "psychopathology" (χ (1) = 107.10, p < .001). The results indicate that pathological Internet use should rather be considered as psychopathology. Excessive Internet use on the other hand, should be classified as adolescent risk-behavior.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107045DOI Listing
December 2021

Maternal bonding impairment predicts personality disorder features in adolescence: The moderating role of child temperament and sex.

Personal Disord 2021 Feb 11. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Research has shown associations between adverse parenting experiences and (borderline) personality disorder ([B]PD). A biopsychosocial model suggests that child characteristics and the environment interact in the development of symptoms. However, prospective data in this aspect are limited. This study focused on maternal bonding impairment (MBI; 2 weeks postpartum) and its interactions with child temperament (age 5) and child sex as predictors of BPD symptoms and general personality dysfunction in adolescence. Participants were 64 mother-child dyads from a community sample who took part in a 14-year longitudinal study. Higher MBI was a significant predictor of general personality dysfunction as defined in Criterion A of the alternative model for PD of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Interactions showed that the effect of MBI on general personality dysfunction was decreased for children higher in harm avoidance and increased for children higher in novelty seeking. There was also a negative main effect of harm avoidance on (B)PD features. Regarding BPD symptoms, the MBI × Child Sex interaction indicated differential susceptibility. Girls' but not boys' BPD symptoms were dependent on maternal bonding. Our results indicate that children at risk of developing personality pathology can be identified early in life. They stress the importance of early relationship disturbances in the development of personality pathology and refine the understanding of differential susceptibility factors in the context of MBI and PD symptom development. Our findings can be applied to target at-risk dyads for selective early prevention based on temperament and maternal bonding. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/per0000433DOI Listing
February 2021

Autonomic nervous system activity and dialectical behavioral therapy outcome in adolescent borderline personality pathology.

World J Biol Psychiatry 2021 09 1;22(7):535-545. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Objectives: We aimed to investigate whether pre-treatment cardiac autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity, indexed by heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) predicts clinical outcome and therapy drop-outs in adolescents with borderline personality (BPD) pathology receiving dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT-A). We further tested for an association between changes in ANS function and clinical outcome over time. Traumatic experiences were considered as potential confounding factor.

Methods:  = 43 (95.4% female, M = 15.5 years) adolescents fulfilling at least sub-threshold criteria for BPD (≥3) were investigated before and after outpatient DBT-A as well as at follow-up.  = 10 patients dropped out of treatment (<50% of treatment sessions). Latent growth curve models were used for analyses.

Results: Greater pre-treatment resting HRV significantly predicted clinical improvement (decrease in BPD pathology/increase of global functioning) over time. Pre-treatment ANS activity was unrelated to treatment drop-out. Further, changes in ANS activity over treatment were associated with changes in clinical outcome.

Conclusion: This study is the first providing evidence that pre-treatment HRV predicts and is related to treatment response in adolescent borderline personality pathology. Implications for the use of ANS measures in clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15622975.2020.1858155DOI Listing
September 2021

Calendar age and puberty-related development of regional gray matter volume and white matter tracts during adolescence.

Brain Struct Funct 2021 Apr 20;226(3):927-937. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Section for Experimental Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstr. 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Findings from previous studies have been inconsistent, failing to distinguish the influence of pubertal status and aging on brain maturation. The current study sought to address these inconsistencies, addressing the trajectories of pubertal development and aging by longitudinally tracking structural brain development during adolescence.

Methods: Two cohorts of healthy children were recruited (cohort 1: 9-10 years old; cohort 2: 12-13 years old at baseline). MRI data were acquired for gray matter volume and white matter tract measures. To determine whether age, pubertal status, both or their interaction best modelled longitudinal data, we compared four multi-level linear regression models to the null model (general brain growth indexed by total segmented volume) using Bayesian model selection.

Results: Data were collected at baseline (n = 116), 12 months (n = 97) and 24 months (n = 84) after baseline. Findings demonstrated that the development of most regional gray matter volume, and white matter tract measures, were best modelled by age. Interestingly, precentral and paracentral regions of the cortex, as well as the accumbens demonstrated significant preference for the pubertal status model. None of the white matter tract measures were better modelled by pubertal status.

Limitations: The major limitation of this study is the two-cohort recruitment. Although this allowed a faster coverage of the age span, a complete per person trajectory over 6 years of development (9-15 years) could not be investigated.

Conclusions: Comparing the impact of age and pubertal status on regional gray matter volume and white matter tract measures, we found age to best predict longitudinal changes. Further longitudinal studies investigating the differential influence of puberty status and age on brain development in more diverse samples are needed to replicate the present results and address mechanisms underlying norm-variants in brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00429-020-02208-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7981330PMC
April 2021

Calendar age and puberty-related development of regional gray matter volume and white matter tracts during adolescence.

Brain Struct Funct 2021 Apr 20;226(3):927-937. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Section for Experimental Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstr. 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Findings from previous studies have been inconsistent, failing to distinguish the influence of pubertal status and aging on brain maturation. The current study sought to address these inconsistencies, addressing the trajectories of pubertal development and aging by longitudinally tracking structural brain development during adolescence.

Methods: Two cohorts of healthy children were recruited (cohort 1: 9-10 years old; cohort 2: 12-13 years old at baseline). MRI data were acquired for gray matter volume and white matter tract measures. To determine whether age, pubertal status, both or their interaction best modelled longitudinal data, we compared four multi-level linear regression models to the null model (general brain growth indexed by total segmented volume) using Bayesian model selection.

Results: Data were collected at baseline (n = 116), 12 months (n = 97) and 24 months (n = 84) after baseline. Findings demonstrated that the development of most regional gray matter volume, and white matter tract measures, were best modelled by age. Interestingly, precentral and paracentral regions of the cortex, as well as the accumbens demonstrated significant preference for the pubertal status model. None of the white matter tract measures were better modelled by pubertal status.

Limitations: The major limitation of this study is the two-cohort recruitment. Although this allowed a faster coverage of the age span, a complete per person trajectory over 6 years of development (9-15 years) could not be investigated.

Conclusions: Comparing the impact of age and pubertal status on regional gray matter volume and white matter tract measures, we found age to best predict longitudinal changes. Further longitudinal studies investigating the differential influence of puberty status and age on brain development in more diverse samples are needed to replicate the present results and address mechanisms underlying norm-variants in brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00429-020-02208-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7981330PMC
April 2021

Calendar age and puberty-related development of regional gray matter volume and white matter tracts during adolescence.

Brain Struct Funct 2021 Apr 20;226(3):927-937. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Section for Experimental Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstr. 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Findings from previous studies have been inconsistent, failing to distinguish the influence of pubertal status and aging on brain maturation. The current study sought to address these inconsistencies, addressing the trajectories of pubertal development and aging by longitudinally tracking structural brain development during adolescence.

Methods: Two cohorts of healthy children were recruited (cohort 1: 9-10 years old; cohort 2: 12-13 years old at baseline). MRI data were acquired for gray matter volume and white matter tract measures. To determine whether age, pubertal status, both or their interaction best modelled longitudinal data, we compared four multi-level linear regression models to the null model (general brain growth indexed by total segmented volume) using Bayesian model selection.

Results: Data were collected at baseline (n = 116), 12 months (n = 97) and 24 months (n = 84) after baseline. Findings demonstrated that the development of most regional gray matter volume, and white matter tract measures, were best modelled by age. Interestingly, precentral and paracentral regions of the cortex, as well as the accumbens demonstrated significant preference for the pubertal status model. None of the white matter tract measures were better modelled by pubertal status.

Limitations: The major limitation of this study is the two-cohort recruitment. Although this allowed a faster coverage of the age span, a complete per person trajectory over 6 years of development (9-15 years) could not be investigated.

Conclusions: Comparing the impact of age and pubertal status on regional gray matter volume and white matter tract measures, we found age to best predict longitudinal changes. Further longitudinal studies investigating the differential influence of puberty status and age on brain development in more diverse samples are needed to replicate the present results and address mechanisms underlying norm-variants in brain development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00429-020-02208-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7981330PMC
April 2021

Effects and moderators of the Olweus bullying prevention program (OBPP) in Germany.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2020 Sep 22. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Child and Adolescents Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Blumenstraße 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Bullying is a common and significant risk factor for mental and physical health problems. The aim of the outlined study was to evaluate the German version of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) and to investigate potential moderators of its effectiveness. 23 schools started with the implementation and all students were invited to complete the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire annually. For our analyses, the data from grades 5 to 9 were used (t0: n = 5759; t1: n = 5416; t2: n = 4894). 16 out of the 23 schools completed the 18-months implementation period. The effectiveness of the program statistically depended on its complete implementation (χ = 7.62, p = 0.022). In the group of non-completers, the prevalence of victimization did not change during the observation period of 2 years (χ = 4.64, p = 0.099). In the group of the completer schools, a significant decrease in bullying between t0 and t1 was found for victims (t0: 9.14%; t1: 6.87%; OR = 0.74; 95% CI 0.62-0.88; p = 0.001) and perpetrators (t0: 6.16%; t1: 4.42%; OR = 0.70; 95% CI 0.55-0.89; p = 0.004). After 24 months (t2), this decrease could be retained (victims: t2: 6.83%; OR = 0.73; 95%CI = 0.61-0.88; p = 0.001; perpetrators: t2: 4.63%; OR = 0.72; 95% CI 0.57-0.92; p = 0.009). Furthermore, we found the following moderators of program effectiveness in the completer schools: (1) gender (with a stronger decrease among victimized girls; p = 0.004) and (2) school grade (with a stronger decrease of victimization among grades 5-7; p = 0.028). The German version of the OBPP significantly reduced the bullying prevalence in the completer schools. Effective prevention needs time and resources: fulfilling the 18-months implementation period was the basis for positive results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-020-01647-9DOI Listing
September 2020

Effects and moderators of the Olweus bullying prevention program (OBPP) in Germany.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2020 Sep 22. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Child and Adolescents Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Blumenstraße 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Bullying is a common and significant risk factor for mental and physical health problems. The aim of the outlined study was to evaluate the German version of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) and to investigate potential moderators of its effectiveness. 23 schools started with the implementation and all students were invited to complete the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire annually. For our analyses, the data from grades 5 to 9 were used (t0: n = 5759; t1: n = 5416; t2: n = 4894). 16 out of the 23 schools completed the 18-months implementation period. The effectiveness of the program statistically depended on its complete implementation (χ = 7.62, p = 0.022). In the group of non-completers, the prevalence of victimization did not change during the observation period of 2 years (χ = 4.64, p = 0.099). In the group of the completer schools, a significant decrease in bullying between t0 and t1 was found for victims (t0: 9.14%; t1: 6.87%; OR = 0.74; 95% CI 0.62-0.88; p = 0.001) and perpetrators (t0: 6.16%; t1: 4.42%; OR = 0.70; 95% CI 0.55-0.89; p = 0.004). After 24 months (t2), this decrease could be retained (victims: t2: 6.83%; OR = 0.73; 95%CI = 0.61-0.88; p = 0.001; perpetrators: t2: 4.63%; OR = 0.72; 95% CI 0.57-0.92; p = 0.009). Furthermore, we found the following moderators of program effectiveness in the completer schools: (1) gender (with a stronger decrease among victimized girls; p = 0.004) and (2) school grade (with a stronger decrease of victimization among grades 5-7; p = 0.028). The German version of the OBPP significantly reduced the bullying prevalence in the completer schools. Effective prevention needs time and resources: fulfilling the 18-months implementation period was the basis for positive results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-020-01647-9DOI Listing
September 2020

Effects and moderators of the Olweus bullying prevention program (OBPP) in Germany.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2020 Sep 22. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Child and Adolescents Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University Hospital Heidelberg, Blumenstraße 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Bullying is a common and significant risk factor for mental and physical health problems. The aim of the outlined study was to evaluate the German version of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) and to investigate potential moderators of its effectiveness. 23 schools started with the implementation and all students were invited to complete the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire annually. For our analyses, the data from grades 5 to 9 were used (t0: n = 5759; t1: n = 5416; t2: n = 4894). 16 out of the 23 schools completed the 18-months implementation period. The effectiveness of the program statistically depended on its complete implementation (χ = 7.62, p = 0.022). In the group of non-completers, the prevalence of victimization did not change during the observation period of 2 years (χ = 4.64, p = 0.099). In the group of the completer schools, a significant decrease in bullying between t0 and t1 was found for victims (t0: 9.14%; t1: 6.87%; OR = 0.74; 95% CI 0.62-0.88; p = 0.001) and perpetrators (t0: 6.16%; t1: 4.42%; OR = 0.70; 95% CI 0.55-0.89; p = 0.004). After 24 months (t2), this decrease could be retained (victims: t2: 6.83%; OR = 0.73; 95%CI = 0.61-0.88; p = 0.001; perpetrators: t2: 4.63%; OR = 0.72; 95% CI 0.57-0.92; p = 0.009). Furthermore, we found the following moderators of program effectiveness in the completer schools: (1) gender (with a stronger decrease among victimized girls; p = 0.004) and (2) school grade (with a stronger decrease of victimization among grades 5-7; p = 0.028). The German version of the OBPP significantly reduced the bullying prevalence in the completer schools. Effective prevention needs time and resources: fulfilling the 18-months implementation period was the basis for positive results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-020-01647-9DOI Listing
September 2020

[Indicated Stress Prevention for Adolescents in the Group Setting - A manual based on Acceptance- and Commitment-Therapy].

Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsychiatr 2020 May;69(3):183-202

Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg Blumenstraße 8 69115 Heidelberg Deutschland Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie.

Stress in adolescence has become a topic of interest in recent years. Long-term exposure to stress can play a significant role in the development and maintenance of mental disorders. Previous studies have shown that especially the more severely stressed adolescents benefit from targeted interventions. However, evidence-based treatment concepts targeting this group are scarce. In this article we introduce the first German-language treatment manual for indicated stress prevention, addressing adolescents based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT is part of the third wave of behavioral therapies, designed for treatment across disorders, which makes it suitable for the treatment of chronic stress symptoms. Previous studies show good efficacy of the ACT-approach in the treatment of adult stress and first promising successes in treatment of adolescents in non-German-speaking countries. The focus of our training lies in practical exercises based on ACT which are conveyed by the use of metaphors, art therapy techniques, role plays and group discussions. The concept is complemented by psychoeducation on stress, mindfulness exercises and training in problem solving. Worksheets and tasks for the week facilitate the transfer into everyday life. Alongside the presentation of the treatment manual, first experiences in the implementation of the program are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13109/prkk.2020.69.3.183DOI Listing
May 2020

[The Association Between Illicit Drug Use, Borderline Personality Disorder and Depression in a Help-Seeking Sample of Adolescents].

Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsychiatr 2020 Mar;69(2):126-140

Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie Blumenstraße 8 69115 Heidelberg Deutschland Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie - Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg.

Risk-taking behavior is a common phenomenon in adolescence. Even prevalence rates for illicit drug use are considerably high in youth and associated with a range of psychiatric disorders, especially depression and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). However, there is a lack of data investigating differences in psychopathology between different substance user groups. Therefore, aim of the study was to investigate occurrence of depression and BPD symptoms in different drug risk groups (no use vs. occasional use vs. frequent use). Further aim of the study was to examine risk profiles regarding single BPD criteria. Data of n = 347 adolescents (81.7 % female, mean age 14.95, SD = 1.50) presenting at the specialized outpatient clinic for risk-taking and self-harming behavior (AtR!Sk) in Heidelberg were analyzed. Results show that BPD is clearly associated with illicit drug use in adolescence. There is no difference between occasional and frequent users in terms of mean number of BPD criteria. However, frequent users differ from occasional users regarding greater number of impulsivity and anger criteria. After adjusting for sociodemographic variables there was no association between drug use and depression. Since even single events of illicit drug use are associated with higher levels of BPD, clinicians should rapidly target to stop consumption. Further, psychotherapeutic interventions for BPD in high-risk consumers should especially focus on facilitating adaptive emotion regulation skills in regards to impulsivity and anger.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13109/prkk.2020.69.2.126DOI Listing
March 2020

Effects of acute transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation on emotion recognition in adolescent depression.

Psychol Med 2021 02 10;51(3):511-520. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Stöckli, Bolligenstrasse 141c, 3000Bern 60, Switzerland.

Background: Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) is a promising therapeutic option for major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. Alternative third-line treatments for MDD in adolescents are scarce. Here we aimed to assess the effects of acute tVNS on emotion recognition in adolescents with MDD.

Methods: Adolescents (14-17 years) with MDD (n = 33) and non-depressed controls (n = 30) received tVNS or sham-stimulation in a cross-sectional, case-control, within-subject cross-randomized controlled trial, while performing different tasks assessing emotion recognition. Correct responses, response times, and errors of omission and commission on three different computerized emotion recognition tasks were assessed as main outcomes. Simultaneous recordings of electrocardiography and electro dermal activity, as well as sampling of saliva for the determination of α-amylase, were used to quantify the effects on autonomic nervous system function.

Results: tVNS had no effect on the recognition of gradually or static expressed emotions but altered response inhibition on the emotional Go/NoGo-task. Specifically, tVNS increased the likelihood of omitting a response toward sad target-stimuli in adolescents with MDD, while decreasing errors (independent of the target emotion) in controls. Effects of acute tVNS on autonomic nervous system function were found in non-depressed controls only.

Conclusions: Acute tVNS alters the recognition of briefly presented facial expressions of negative valence in adolescents with MDD while generally increasing emotion recognition in controls. tVNS seems to specifically alter early visual processing of stimuli of negative emotional valence in MDD. These findings suggest a potential therapeutic benefit of tVNS in adolescent MDD that requires further evaluation within clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0033291719003490DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7958483PMC
February 2021

Stress, mental and physical health and the costs of health care in German high school students.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2020 Sep 6;29(9):1277-1287. Epub 2019 Dec 6.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, Heidelberg University Hospital, Blumenstraße 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Stress is a mind-body phenomenon, which affects both mental and physical health and is highly relevant to the health care system. Yet, knowledge on the costs of stress and related health problems in adolescence is missing. The present study addresses this gap by investigating direct health care costs in relation to stress, mental health problems and physical health in high school students. The sample comprised 284 pupils from four schools in Heidelberg (mean age 16.75 ± 0.64 years, 59.64% female). Self-reported health care utilization and medication intake within 1 month were translated into costs. We established correlative associations of the dichotomized overall costs (no vs. any) with stress, mental health problems and physical health within generalized structural equation models. In particular, mental health problems and physical health were examined as mediators of the association between stress and costs. An increase of stress by 1 SD corresponded increased chances for costs by OR 1.39 (Odds Ratio; 95% CI  0.13-0.53, p = 0.001). When mediators were analysed separately, both mental and physical health (problems) fully mediated the association. Yet, when examined together, only mental health problems acted as a mediator. Our results indicate the health economic relevance of stress-related mental health problems in high school students. The finding is meant to set the stage for further cost-of-illness studies of stress and related health problems, as well as economic evaluations. Longitudinal research is needed to allow conclusions on directionality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-019-01441-2DOI Listing
September 2020

Life Events Predicting the First Onset of Adolescent Direct Self-Injurious Behavior-A Prospective Multicenter Study.

J Adolesc Health 2020 02 31;66(2):195-201. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill-Health (NASP), Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Purpose: Self-injurious behavior is a frequent phenomenon in adolescence. The present study prospectively examined life events as risk factors for the first onset of direct self-injurious behavior (D-SIB) in the Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe school-based multicenter sample.

Methods: Longitudinal assessments with an interval of 1 year were performed within a sample of 1,933 adolescents (51.47% females; mean age 14.84 ± .9 years) from 10 European countries and Israel.

Results: The number of life events during the past 6 months predicted the first onset of D-SIB in the following year. Gender neither predicted the onset of D-SIB nor moderated the association with life events. Moreover, analyses of individual events identified a range of mainly interpersonal events within both family and peer group as proximal risk factors for first episode D-SIB.

Conclusions: The results support the critical role of interpersonal life events in the development of D-SIB for both genders and refine the conceptualization of proximal risk factors in terms of accumulated stressors and interpersonal events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.08.018DOI Listing
February 2020

Emotion dysregulation and resting-state autonomic function in adolescent borderline personality disorder-A multimodal assessment approach.

Personal Disord 2020 01 31;11(1):46-53. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by persistent emotion dysregulation (ED), and ED is one of the core features of BPD. In recent years, research aimed to identify distinct patterns of ED characteristic of patients with BPD. These efforts comprised translational approaches, including psychophysiological measures. Autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction, indexed by reduced resting-state heart rate variability (HRV), is suggested to be a psychophysiological marker of ED. Reduced HRV is seen in patients with a variety of psychiatric disorders, including adolescents with depression and BPD. No previous study, to the best of our knowledge, addressed the association between ANS function and different measures of ED in adolescents with BPD. Here, we used a multimodal assessment of ED (self-reports, interviews, ambulatory assessment) in a sample of 43 adolescent patients (95.4% female, = 15.5 years), fulfilling at least 3 BPD criteria. Replicating earlier findings, greater BPD symptom severity was significantly related to reduced resting-state HRV and increased heart rate. However, other measures of ED and mean affect were unrelated to ANS function. Findings suggest that ANS dysfunction maps to symptom severity in general rather than specific symptomatology (such as ED) in adolescents with BPD. Implications for the use of ANS measures in clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/per0000367DOI Listing
January 2020

Emotion dysregulation and resting-state autonomic function in adolescent borderline personality disorder-A multimodal assessment approach.

Personal Disord 2020 01 31;11(1):46-53. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by persistent emotion dysregulation (ED), and ED is one of the core features of BPD. In recent years, research aimed to identify distinct patterns of ED characteristic of patients with BPD. These efforts comprised translational approaches, including psychophysiological measures. Autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction, indexed by reduced resting-state heart rate variability (HRV), is suggested to be a psychophysiological marker of ED. Reduced HRV is seen in patients with a variety of psychiatric disorders, including adolescents with depression and BPD. No previous study, to the best of our knowledge, addressed the association between ANS function and different measures of ED in adolescents with BPD. Here, we used a multimodal assessment of ED (self-reports, interviews, ambulatory assessment) in a sample of 43 adolescent patients (95.4% female, = 15.5 years), fulfilling at least 3 BPD criteria. Replicating earlier findings, greater BPD symptom severity was significantly related to reduced resting-state HRV and increased heart rate. However, other measures of ED and mean affect were unrelated to ANS function. Findings suggest that ANS dysfunction maps to symptom severity in general rather than specific symptomatology (such as ED) in adolescents with BPD. Implications for the use of ANS measures in clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/per0000367DOI Listing
January 2020

Emotion dysregulation and resting-state autonomic function in adolescent borderline personality disorder-A multimodal assessment approach.

Personal Disord 2020 01 31;11(1):46-53. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by persistent emotion dysregulation (ED), and ED is one of the core features of BPD. In recent years, research aimed to identify distinct patterns of ED characteristic of patients with BPD. These efforts comprised translational approaches, including psychophysiological measures. Autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction, indexed by reduced resting-state heart rate variability (HRV), is suggested to be a psychophysiological marker of ED. Reduced HRV is seen in patients with a variety of psychiatric disorders, including adolescents with depression and BPD. No previous study, to the best of our knowledge, addressed the association between ANS function and different measures of ED in adolescents with BPD. Here, we used a multimodal assessment of ED (self-reports, interviews, ambulatory assessment) in a sample of 43 adolescent patients (95.4% female, = 15.5 years), fulfilling at least 3 BPD criteria. Replicating earlier findings, greater BPD symptom severity was significantly related to reduced resting-state HRV and increased heart rate. However, other measures of ED and mean affect were unrelated to ANS function. Findings suggest that ANS dysfunction maps to symptom severity in general rather than specific symptomatology (such as ED) in adolescents with BPD. Implications for the use of ANS measures in clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/per0000367DOI Listing
January 2020

Childhood adversity and parenting behavior: the role of oxytocin receptor gene polymorphisms.

J Neural Transm (Vienna) 2019 06 16;126(6):777-787. Epub 2019 May 16.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.

Previous research revealed experiences of childhood adversity (CA) to be related to less favorable parenting behavior. It can further be expected that maternal oxytocin receptor (OXTR) genes may influence parenting behavior and moderate relationships between CA and parenting behavior. Moreover, associations between the OXTR gene and plasma oxytocin (OT) have been discussed. The present study investigated main effects of the OXTR gene on parenting behavior and plasma OT of mothers, and moderating effects of the OXTR gene on the relationship between mothers' experiences of CA and parenting behavior. We relied on a sample of 193 mothers and their on average 8-year-old children. Maternal experiences of CA were assessed using a standardized interview. A questionnaire for the assessment of child abuse potential and observations of mother-child interaction were used as indicators of parenting behavior. For mothers, we analyzed three polymorphisms (rs53576, rs1042778, rs2254298) of the OXTR gene and plasma OT. Only the rs53576 was associated with mothers' parenting behavior, specifically with maternal sensitivity. The rs2254298 significantly moderated relations between mothers' experiences of CA and parenting behavior. Significant relations could be found only for mothers who were homozygous for the G allele. The G allele of the rs2254298 was further related to increased plasma OT levels. Our findings underline the importance of considering genetic variation when investigating consequences of CA and developing intervention programs that are adapted to an individual's needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00702-019-02009-9DOI Listing
June 2019

A Biobehavioral Validation of the Taylor Aggression Paradigm in Female Adolescents.

Sci Rep 2019 05 7;9(1):7036. Epub 2019 May 7.

Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstrasse 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

This research assessed the behavioral, emotional, endocrinological and autonomic reactivity to the laboratory Taylor Aggression Paradigm (TAP) in a sample of healthy female adolescents. Twenty participants were induced with the TAP to behave aggressively (aggression group) and 20 age-matched participants were not induced to behave aggressively (control group). Regression analysis revealed that the aggression group displayed significant higher levels of aggressive behavior compared to the control group (χ (2) = 255.50, p < 0.0001). Aggressive behavior was not related to self-reported measures of trait aggression, impulsiveness or psychopathy features. Regarding the biological responses, regression analysis on cortisol, missed the set level of significance (χ (1) = 3.73, p = 0.054), but showed significant effects on heart rate as a function of aggression induction (χ (1) = 5.81, p = 0.016). While aggression induction was associated with increased autonomic arousal (heart rate), the interpretation of the effects on cortisol warrant caution, given existing differences between groups at baseline and overly elevated cortisol attributable to the general experimental procedures and not the TAP per se. No differences were found with respect to testosterone. In summary, the present study lends preliminary support for the validity of the TAP and its use in female adolescents on a behavioral and autonomic level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43456-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6504877PMC
May 2019

[Relationship Between (Pathological) Internet Use and Sleep Problems in a Longitudinal Study].

Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsychiatr 2019 Feb;68(2):146-159

Universitätsklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie Universitäre Psychiatrische Dienste Bolligenstrasse 111, Stöckli CH-3000 Bern 60 Schweiz Universitätsklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie.

Relationship Between (Pathological) Internet Use and Sleep Problems in a Longitudinal Study Excessive or pathological Internet use has already been associated with sleep disorders, but the direction of the connection remains still uncertain. The relationship between (pathological) Internet use and sleep problems in adolescence was investigated by a representative longitudinal survey of data from a sample of 1,060 students from Heidelberg and the surrounding area (SEYLE study). The students, on average 15 years old, responded at a baseline and after one year to a survey on sleep and Internet use. In addition to the number of hours of Internet use, pathological Internet use was assessed using the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (YDQ). Sleep duration and sleep problems were surveyed by self-assessment. The prevalence of adolescents with pathological Internet use was 3.71 % in the follow-up survey. Furthermore, 20.48 % of adolescents reported sleep problems. Pathological and excessive Internet use were predictors of sleep problems over the course of one year. Adolescents who met the criteria for Internet addiction to the baseline had a 3.6 times greater risk of developing sleep problems in the course of one year. Whereas sleep problems to the baseline increased the YDQ symptoms only by 0.22. Sleep problems often occur as a result of pathological Internet use and could have an addiction-enhancing effect as well as mediating further psychiatric comorbidities. Thus, sleep problems should be targeted for early intervention and therapeutic measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.13109/prkk.2019.68.2.146DOI Listing
February 2019

Longitudinal development of risk-taking and self-injurious behavior in association with late adolescent borderline personality disorder symptoms.

Psychiatry Res 2019 03 3;273:127-133. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany; University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Self-injurious behavior and risk-taking behaviors are associated with adolescent borderline personality disorder (BPD). Developmental trajectories of self-injurious and risk-taking behavior in predicting BPD have not been fully understood. The aim of the present study was to examine self-injurious and risk-taking behavior development and their prospective influence on BPD symptoms in adolescence. Data (n = 506; 62.06 % females, 14.53 years) from the German Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe cohort were analyzed. Self-injurious and risk-taking behaviors were assessed at baseline and one-year follow-up. BPD symptoms were assessed at two-year follow-up. In fully adjusted stepwise binominal regression analyses, recent onset, termination and maintenance of risky alcohol use and self-injurious behavior remained as significant predictors of BPD. Highest ORs were found for alcohol termination and maintenance of self-injurious behavior. Other facets of risk-taking behavior were not associated with increased ORs of BPD symptoms at two-year follow-up. These findings highlight the importance of self-injurious behavior and specific facets of risk-taking behavior in the development of adolescent BPD. Clinicians should focus on efforts in preventing adolescents from risk-taking and self-injurious behavior, since engaging in young age and therefore in potentially longer periods of these behaviors is associated with the highest risk of BPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2019.01.010DOI Listing
March 2019

Hair hormones in male youth with internet gaming disorder.

World J Biol Psychiatry 2019 04 20;20(4):333-338. Epub 2018 Sep 20.

a University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern , Bern , Switzerland.

Internet gaming disorder (IGD) is associated with altered physiological reactivity to psychosocial stress. Findings from a previous study on alterations of basal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning, indexed by differences in hair hormone levels (i.e., cortisol) in IGD patients compared to matched controls, were limited by a small sample size. Following the protocol of the previous study, male patients with IGD ( = 31) and controls ( = 31) matched for age, educational status and smoking were recruited. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were assessed using structured interviews and self-reports. Hair samples were taken for the analysis of cortisol, cortisone, testosterone, progesterone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and corticosterone. Groups showed no significant differences on cortisol ( = -0.10, 95%CI (-0.60; 0.40)), cortisone ( = -0.10, 95%CI (-0.60; 0.40)), testosterone ( = -0.00, 95%CI (-0.51; 0.51)), progesterone ( = -0.46, 95%CI (-0.96; 0.05)), DHEA ( = -0.04, 95%CI (-0.54; 0.47)) or corticosterone ( = -0.19, 95%CI (-0.69; 0.32)). Associations between hair hormone concentrations, symptom severity and sociodemographic variables were weak and did not survive correction for multiple testing. Unlike other psychiatric disorders, effects of IGD and associated psychopathology on basal HPA axis functioning, indexed by hair hormone levels, are negligible. Future studies need to rule out potential effects of sex, age and long-term pathology on these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15622975.2018.1511921DOI Listing
April 2019

The cost incurred by victims of bullying from a societal perspective: estimates based on a German online survey of adolescents.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2019 Apr 17;28(4):585-594. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstrasse 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Being a victim of bullying is linked to various social, emotional and behavioral problems potentially leading to a reduced quality of life. Furthermore, victims of bullying may cause extensive costs for society, for example by an above-average need for healthcare services. The present study was designed to quantify the costs and the loss of quality of life attributable to bullying by comparing victims with a control group of non-bullied students. A cross-sectional sample of 1293 adolescents (mean age 14.07, SD = 1.36) and their parents reported on bullying victimization, quality of life (adolescents' self-report), and annual direct (medical and non-medical) as well as indirect costs (parents' self-report) from a societal perspective (all expressed in €, year 2014 and 2015). For frequent (20.6% of our sample; costs: €8461.80 p.a.) but not occasional (13.3%; costs: €2850.06) bullying, victimization was associated with significantly higher costs compared to non-bullied adolescents (costs: €3138.00; annual difference between frequently bullied students and controls: €5323.01 p.a.; p = 0.008). Cost drivers included increased direct medical costs, but mostly indirect costs caused by productivity losses of the parents. Self-reported quality of life of frequent victims was considerably reduced (T = - 10.96; p < 0.001); also occasional bullying showed significantly reduced values in global quality of life (T = - 5.73; p < 0.001). The present findings demonstrate that frequent bullying is associated with substantial cost to society and reduced quality of life of victims. This observation underscores the need for effective school-based bullying prevention and suggests a high potential of effective programs to be cost effective as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1224-yDOI Listing
April 2019

The cost incurred by victims of bullying from a societal perspective: estimates based on a German online survey of adolescents.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2019 Apr 17;28(4):585-594. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstrasse 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Being a victim of bullying is linked to various social, emotional and behavioral problems potentially leading to a reduced quality of life. Furthermore, victims of bullying may cause extensive costs for society, for example by an above-average need for healthcare services. The present study was designed to quantify the costs and the loss of quality of life attributable to bullying by comparing victims with a control group of non-bullied students. A cross-sectional sample of 1293 adolescents (mean age 14.07, SD = 1.36) and their parents reported on bullying victimization, quality of life (adolescents' self-report), and annual direct (medical and non-medical) as well as indirect costs (parents' self-report) from a societal perspective (all expressed in €, year 2014 and 2015). For frequent (20.6% of our sample; costs: €8461.80 p.a.) but not occasional (13.3%; costs: €2850.06) bullying, victimization was associated with significantly higher costs compared to non-bullied adolescents (costs: €3138.00; annual difference between frequently bullied students and controls: €5323.01 p.a.; p = 0.008). Cost drivers included increased direct medical costs, but mostly indirect costs caused by productivity losses of the parents. Self-reported quality of life of frequent victims was considerably reduced (T = - 10.96; p < 0.001); also occasional bullying showed significantly reduced values in global quality of life (T = - 5.73; p < 0.001). The present findings demonstrate that frequent bullying is associated with substantial cost to society and reduced quality of life of victims. This observation underscores the need for effective school-based bullying prevention and suggests a high potential of effective programs to be cost effective as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1224-yDOI Listing
April 2019

The cost incurred by victims of bullying from a societal perspective: estimates based on a German online survey of adolescents.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2019 Apr 17;28(4):585-594. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstrasse 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Being a victim of bullying is linked to various social, emotional and behavioral problems potentially leading to a reduced quality of life. Furthermore, victims of bullying may cause extensive costs for society, for example by an above-average need for healthcare services. The present study was designed to quantify the costs and the loss of quality of life attributable to bullying by comparing victims with a control group of non-bullied students. A cross-sectional sample of 1293 adolescents (mean age 14.07, SD = 1.36) and their parents reported on bullying victimization, quality of life (adolescents' self-report), and annual direct (medical and non-medical) as well as indirect costs (parents' self-report) from a societal perspective (all expressed in €, year 2014 and 2015). For frequent (20.6% of our sample; costs: €8461.80 p.a.) but not occasional (13.3%; costs: €2850.06) bullying, victimization was associated with significantly higher costs compared to non-bullied adolescents (costs: €3138.00; annual difference between frequently bullied students and controls: €5323.01 p.a.; p = 0.008). Cost drivers included increased direct medical costs, but mostly indirect costs caused by productivity losses of the parents. Self-reported quality of life of frequent victims was considerably reduced (T = - 10.96; p < 0.001); also occasional bullying showed significantly reduced values in global quality of life (T = - 5.73; p < 0.001). The present findings demonstrate that frequent bullying is associated with substantial cost to society and reduced quality of life of victims. This observation underscores the need for effective school-based bullying prevention and suggests a high potential of effective programs to be cost effective as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1224-yDOI Listing
April 2019

The cost incurred by victims of bullying from a societal perspective: estimates based on a German online survey of adolescents.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2019 Apr 17;28(4):585-594. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Center for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Blumenstrasse 8, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.

Being a victim of bullying is linked to various social, emotional and behavioral problems potentially leading to a reduced quality of life. Furthermore, victims of bullying may cause extensive costs for society, for example by an above-average need for healthcare services. The present study was designed to quantify the costs and the loss of quality of life attributable to bullying by comparing victims with a control group of non-bullied students. A cross-sectional sample of 1293 adolescents (mean age 14.07, SD = 1.36) and their parents reported on bullying victimization, quality of life (adolescents' self-report), and annual direct (medical and non-medical) as well as indirect costs (parents' self-report) from a societal perspective (all expressed in €, year 2014 and 2015). For frequent (20.6% of our sample; costs: €8461.80 p.a.) but not occasional (13.3%; costs: €2850.06) bullying, victimization was associated with significantly higher costs compared to non-bullied adolescents (costs: €3138.00; annual difference between frequently bullied students and controls: €5323.01 p.a.; p = 0.008). Cost drivers included increased direct medical costs, but mostly indirect costs caused by productivity losses of the parents. Self-reported quality of life of frequent victims was considerably reduced (T = - 10.96; p < 0.001); also occasional bullying showed significantly reduced values in global quality of life (T = - 5.73; p < 0.001). The present findings demonstrate that frequent bullying is associated with substantial cost to society and reduced quality of life of victims. This observation underscores the need for effective school-based bullying prevention and suggests a high potential of effective programs to be cost effective as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-018-1224-yDOI Listing
April 2019

The physiological orienting response in female adolescents with borderline personality disorder.

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 2018 08 27;86:287-293. Epub 2018 Apr 27.

University Hospital of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Bern, Switzerland; Section for Translational Psychobiology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Germany; Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centre for Psychosocial Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Background: The reflexive startle- and orienting-response have been widely studied in psychiatric disorders. Existing evidence in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is mixed, and limited to adults. The present study addressed clinical correlates of the psychophysiological orienting response in adolescents with BPD.

Methods: Female adolescents (13-19 years) with BPD (n = 30), healthy controls (HC; n = 34), and psychiatric clinical controls (CC; n = 53) participated in the trial. Orienting response was induced using acoustic startle-probes (sinus tones) while heart rate (HR) and skin conductance (SCR) were continuously recorded. Besides clinical interviews, the assessment included self-reports on depressive symptoms, anxiety, dissociation and psychopathological distress.

Results: On a group level, relative habituation of the HR-response (regression slope) significantly differed between groups (F = 3.74, p = 0.027), with significant contrasts (p = 0.026, Sidak corrected) comparing CC (slope 0.04 ± 0.41) and BPD (slope 0.28 ± 0.40). On a dimensional level, relative HR habituation was significantly correlated with the number of BPD diagnostic criteria endorsed (r = 0.183, p = 0.049) and symptoms of dissociation (r = 0.193, p = 0.038), indicating that delayed HR habituation across probes was associated with greater BPD symptom severity. Analyses of SCR showed no significant findings.

Conclusion: Findings provide preliminary support for altered habituation of the HR orienting response in adolescent BPD, associated with BPD severity - in particular dissociative experiences. Dissociative experiences may alter the automatic defensive response early in the course of BPD, providing a potential pathway to exaggerated emotional responding in BPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pnpbp.2018.04.012DOI Listing
August 2018
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