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Author Notes:

Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Yerkes Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Dr, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA, Office: 404-727-7739; FAX: 404-727-8070, kressle@emory.edu.

We thank staff of the Grady Trauma Project, especially Allen Graham, Angelo Brown, and Maria Nylocks; as well as Marucs J. (Bo) Houston, Carla Moore, and Shelawa Kadree for excellent support.

There were no commercial sponsors or commercial relationships related to the current work.

All additional financial ties of the investigators within the last 3 years are disclosed herein: Dr. Gillespie has received funding from APIRE/Wyeth, NARSAD, NIDA, and NIMH; Dr. Ressler has received awards and/or funding support related to other studies from Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, NARSAD, NIMH, NIDA, and is a cofounder of Extinction Pharmaceuticals for use of NMDA-based therapeutics with Psychotherapy.


Research Funding:

This work was primarily supported by National Institutes of Mental Health (MH071537).

Support was also received from National Institute of Mental Health (MH082256 to CFG); Emory and Grady Memorial Hospital General Clinical Research Center; NIH National Centers for Research Resources (M01RR00039 and P20RR16435); NARSAD (CFG); the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (BB); and the Burroughs Welcome Fund (KJR).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Trauma
  • African-American
  • Genetic
  • Cardiovascular
  • Lipids

The association between childhood trauma and lipid levels in an adult low-income, minority population


Journal Title:

General Hospital Psychiatry


Volume 36, Number 2


, Pages 150-155

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background: The objective of this study is to investigate the association between childhood trauma and lipid profiles in adults from a highly traumatized population at-risk for cardiovascular disease. Method: We recruited 452 participants, primarily African-American and of low socioeconomic status, from general medical clinics in a large urban hospital. We performed direct comparisons, univariate analysis of variance and regression analyses together and separated by sex, examining the associations of child abuse, body mass index, lipid lowering drug use, blood pressure, age, and substance use to HDL levels and HDL/LDL ratios. Results: A history of moderate to severe levels of childhood trauma and abuse was associated with a significant decrease in HDL levels (P≤ .01) and HDL/LDL ratios (P≤ .001) relative to males with low levels of abuse. This relationship held when the status of lipid-lowering drugs was considered. When controlling for age, substance abuse, tobacco use, and adult trauma, the effects of childhood trauma remained significant. We found a significant child abuse by sex interaction on HDL/LDL ratios [F(1,369)=13.0, P≤. .0005] consistent with a differential effect of trauma on dyslipidemia in male but not female subjects. Conclusions: Our data suggest that childhood trauma exposure, obtained with self-report measures, may contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease by way of stress-mediated alterations of lipid concentration and composition in male, but not female, subjects.

Copyright information:

© 2014 Elsevier Inc.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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