Childhood Sexual Abuse and Cortical Thinning in Adults With Major Depressive Disorder

Jinyi Kim, Chanju Lee, Youbin Kang, Wooyoung Kang, Aram Kim, Woo Suk Tae, Byung Joo Ham, Jisoon Chang, Kyu Man Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective A growing body of evidence reports on the effect of different types of childhood abuse on the structural and functional ar-chitecture of the brain. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the differences in cortical thickness according to specific types of childhood abuse between patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and healthy controls (HCs). Methods A total of 61 patients with MDD and 98 HCs were included in this study. All participants underwent T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, and the occurrence of childhood abuse was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. We investigated the association between whole-brain cortical thickness and exposure to any type of childhood abuse and specific type of childhood abuse in the total sample using the FreeSurfer software. Results No significant difference was reported in the cortical thickness between the MDD and HC groups nor between the “any abuseand “no abuse” groups. Compared to no exposure to childhood sexual abuse (CSA), exposure to CSA was significantly associated witcortical thinning in the left rostral middle frontal gyrus (p=0.00020), left (p=0.00240), right fusiform gyri (p=0.00599), and right supra-marginal gyrus (p=0.00679). Conclusion Exposure to CSA may lead to cortical thinning of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is deeply involved in emotion regulation, to a greater extent than other types of childhood abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. 2022R1A2C4001313).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Korean Neuropsychiatric Association 255.


  • Childhood trauma
  • Depression
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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