The Effects of Stress

PTSD Greyscale | Center for Lifespan Psychology

In a series of studies we aim to investigate plasticity processes in response to traumatic and stressful events as well as the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, we wish to assess the effects of therapeutic intervention on a PTSD population and to explore novel interventions for PTSD.

In one of the largest scale studies of PTSD ever conducted using fMRI, soldiers are assessed before and after deployment to armed conflict and post-conflict zones, using a battery of neuroimaging and psychological measures. This study aims to assess whether the structural and functional changes, in particular within the hippocampal formation (Kühn & Gallinat, 2013), observed in a PTSD population are present prior to PTSD (vulnerability hypothesis) or arise as a result of the development of PTSD (acquisition hypothesis).


Simone Kühn, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (since 2016)

Oisin Butler (predoctoral fellow)

Collaboration Partners

Jürgen Gallinat, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Peter Zimmermann, Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Berlin
Gerd Willmund, Bundeswehrkrankenhaus Berlin


Butler, O., Willmund, G., Gleich, T., Gallinat, J., Kühn, S., & Zimmermann, P. (in press). Hippocampal gray matter increases following multimodal psychological treatment for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Brain and Behavior.

Butler, O., Yang, X. F., Laube, C., Kühn, S., & Immordino-Yang, M. H. (2018). Community violence exposure correlates with smaller gray matter volume and lower IQ in urban adolescents. Human Brain Mapping. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.23988

Tendolkar, I., Mårtensson, J., Kühn, S., Klumpers, F., & Fernandez, G. (2018). Physical neglect during childhood alters white matter connectivity in healthy young males. Human Brain Mapping, 39, 1283–1290. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.23916

Butler, O., Adolf, J., Gleich, T., Willmund, G., Zimmermann, P., Lindenberger, U., ... Kühn, S. (2017). Military deployment correlates with smaller prefrontal gray matter volume and psychological symptoms in a subclinical population. Translational Psychiatry, 7:e1031. https//doi.org/10.1038/ tp.2016.288

Kühn, S., & Gallinat, J. (2013). Gray matter correlates of posttraumatic stress disorder: A quantitative meta-analysis. Biological Psychiatry, 73, 70–74. https//doi.org/10.1016/ j.biopsych. 2012.06.029