Touch aversion in patients with interpersonal traumatization

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



BACKGROUND: Interpersonal touch is a key aspect of human interaction and a usually very comforting experience. For patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD) caused by interpersonal traumatization, such touch is affectively ambiguous.

METHODS: In two studies, we investigated the experience and neural processing of various types of interpersonal and impersonal touch in patients as compared with healthy controls.

RESULTS: Patients strongly disliked show, interpersonal skin-to-skin stroking, while controls appreciated this kind of touch. No group differences were observed for ratings of impersonal touch. Similarly, the neural activation differed between groups for interpersonal, but not for impersonal touch. The interpersonal touch aversion in patients was accompanied by enhanced blood-oxygen-level-dependent response in the superior temporal gyrus and by a pronounced reduction of response in the hippocampus. This reduction was significantly correlated to symptoms of negative alterations and arousal within the patients.

CONCLUSION: We interpret the hippocampal suppression as an attempt to control traumatic memories, evoked by interpersonal touch. This mechanism may maintain the aversion of interpersonal touch in patients with interpersonal trauma-related PTSD.


Seiten (von - bis)635-646
FachzeitschriftDepression and Anxiety
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Juli 2019

Externe IDs

Scopus 85068369558


Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung


  • Adult, Arousal/physiology, Female, Hippocampus/physiopathology, Humans, Interpersonal Relations, Memory/physiology, Middle Aged, Psychological Trauma/physiopathology, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/physiopathology, Touch, Young Adult