Childhood trauma, emotion regulation and pain in alcohol-dependent individuals

J. Zaorska, M. Kopera, M. Nowakowska, P. Kobylinski, M. Wojnar, A. Jakubczyk

2020 EUROPEAN PSYCHIATRY, T. 67, Supplement 1, s. S290-S290

Introduction: Several studies have confirmed that the experience of childhood trauma, poor emotion regulation as well as experience of physical pain may contribute to development and poor treatment outcomes in alcohol dependence (AD). However, littleis known about mutual relationships between all these factors in individuals with AD.
Objectives: to analyze associations between childhood trauma, emotion regulation and pain tolerance in alcohol-dependent individuals.
Methods: The study group comprised 165 individuals diagnosed with AD. The Childhood Trauma Questionnaire was used to investigate different types of trauma during childhood; the Brief Symptom Inventory – to assess anxiety symptoms; the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) – to assess emotional dysregulation and
Pain Resilience Scale – to measure self-reported pain tolerance.
Results: Childhood emotional abuse (CTQ subscale score), anxiety, emotional dysregulation (DERS total score), and the covariates (sex
and age) explained almost 16% of the variance in pain tolerance (R2 = 0.156; F[5, 138] = 5.094; p < 0.001). Childhood emotional abuse was positively associated with anxiety, anxiety was positively associated with emotional dysregulation, and emotional dysregulation was negatively associated with pain resilience, adding up to the
indirect negative association between childhood emotional abuse and pain tolerance. All of the correlations were significant. The statistical procedure proved anxiety and emotional dysregulation, operating in serial, mediated the effect of childhood emotional abuse on pain resilience in the study group.
Conclusions: Addressing the issue of emotional dysregulation and physical pain in relation to childhood trauma, may be an important part of alcohol dependence therapeutic treatment programs