The differential effects of PTSD, MDD, and dissociation on CRP in trauma-exposed women

Abigail Powers, Hayley Drew Dixon, K. Conneely, Rachel Gluck, Adam Munoz, Cleo Rochat, Hadrian Mendoza, Georgina Hartzell, Kerry J. Ressler, Bekh Bradley, Thaddeus W.W. Pace, Guillermo E. Umpierrez, A. C. Schwartz, Vasiliki Michopoulos, Charles F. Gillespie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, has been associated with psychiatric disorders including major depressive disorder (MDD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some research suggests that exposure to trauma can trigger increased activity in the inflammatory system. Dissociation is associated with chronic trauma exposure and may be an important factor in understanding the risk for psychiatric outcomes associated with inflammation. The main objective of the current study was to understand how CRP was related to trauma, dissociation, PTSD and MDD in a sample of 55 traumatized African American women with type 2 diabetes mellitus recruited from an urban hospital. Method: High sensitivity CRP (hsCRP) was assayed through blood samples; psychiatric disorders were assessed with structured clinical interviews, dissociation was assessed with the Multiscale Dissociation Inventory, and exposure to trauma in childhood and adulthood was assessed with the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire and the Traumatic Events Inventory, respectively. Results: Correlational results showed a significant association between higher concentrations of hsCRP and child abuse (p < 0.05), overall dissociation severity (p < 0.001), and PTSD symptoms (p < 0.01). ANOVA results showed significantly higher levels of hsCRP in those with current MDD, current PTSD, and remitted PTSD. A hierarchical linear regression model demonstrated a significant association between dissociation symptoms and greater hsCRP levels independent of childhood abuse, PTSD, and MDD (R2∆ = 0.11, p = 0.001) and independent of emotion dysregulation (p < 0.05). Conclusion: These findings suggest that dissociation symptoms among those with a history of trauma may be particularly associated with higher levels of inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • CRP
  • Dissociation
  • Inflammation
  • MDD
  • PTSD
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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