My PhD investigates the biological mechanisms by which adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can translate into dissociative experiences in children and young adults. The biological mechanisms included sit within the framework of an altered stress system due to ACEs during periods of neuroplasticity in early childhood. My PhD consists of 3 studies. Studies 1 and 2 are utilising data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Study 3 utilises experimental methods.
Study 1 looks at the longitudinal impact of ACEs on the development of transient depersonalisation experiences later in a child's life and whether this relationship is mediated by HPA-axis dysfunction.
Study 2 looks at the longitudinal impact of ACEs on the development of transient depersonalisation experiences later in child's life and whether this relationship is mediated by chronic inflammation.
Study 3 looks at how transient depersonalisation experiences develop into depersonalisation disorder. I am looking at whether hyperreflexivity precedes extended periods of depersonalisation, mediated by non-habituation of the autonomic nervous system.