Bergen Stress and Sleep Group, BSSG

The early life condition - A translational study of affective and behavioral outcomes and genetic modulation

Main content

Adverse experiences durineg early life are quite prevalent in our society. Individuals who experience stress in early life appear to develop pathologic changes that increase vulnerability to stressful life events in later life, predisposing them to development of multiple forms of (severe) psychopathology. The primary objective of this project is to establish translational research on early life stress with affective, behavioral outcome as well as genetic modulation, with a strong gender perspective.

The secondary objectives are:

  1. to explore the impact of negative experiences in childhood,
  2. to explore the impact of positive support as a moderator of risk to develop later anxiety and depression
  3. to identify high-probability candidate genes which may interact with early life stress making the individual more vulnerable or resilient to later stress experience. The latter point represents an innovative approach to the exploration of genetic vulnerability and resilience of early life stress.


Publications from this project

Steine IM, Skogen JC, Krystal JH, Winje D, Milde AM, Grønli J, Nordhus IH, Bjorvatn B, Pallesen S (2019) Insomnia symptom trajectories among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A longitudinal study. Child Abuse Negl. 93:263-276.

Steine IM, Winje D, Skogen JC, Krystal JH, Milde AM, Bjorvatn B, Nordhus IH, Grønli J, Pallesen S. (2017). Posttraumatic symptom profiles among adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A longitudinal study. Child Abuse Negl 67:280-293

Steine IM, Zayats T, Stansberg C, Pallesen S, Mrdalj J, Havik B, Soule J, Haavik J, Milde AM, Skrede S, Murison R, Krystal J, Gronli J. (2016). Implication of NOTCH1 gene in susceptibility to anxiety and depression among sexual abuse victims. Transl Psychiat 6(12):e977

Steine IM, Winje D, Nordhus IH, Milde AM, Bjorvatn B, Grønli J, Pallesen S. (2016) Langvarig taushet om seksuelle overgrep: Prediktorer og korrelater hos voksne som opplevde seksuelle overgrep som barn. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening 53(11): 888-899

Mrdalj J, Murison R, Soule J, Rod AMK, Milde AM, Pallesen S, Gronli J. (2016). Mild daily stressors in adulthood may counteract behavioural effects after constant presence of mother during early life. Physiol Behav 165: 313-321

Mrdalj J, Lundegaard Mattson A, Murison R, Konow Jellestad F, Milde AM, Pallesen S, et al. (2014). Hypothermia after chronic mild stress exposure in rats with a history of postnatal maternal separations. Chronobiol Int 31(2): 252-64

Mrdalj J, Pallesen S, Milde AM, Jellestad FK, Murison R, Ursin R, et al. (2013). Early and later life stress alter brain activity and sleep in rats. PLoS One 8(7): e69923

Steine IM, Krystal JH, Nordhus IH, Bjorvatn B, Harvey AG, Eid J, et al. (2012). Insomnia, nightmare frequency, and nightmare distress in victims of sexual abuse: the role of perceived social support and abuse characteristics. J Interpers Violence 27(9): 1827-43

Steine IM, Harvey AG, Krystal JH, Milde AM, Gronli J, Bjorvatn B, et al. (2012). Sleep disturbances in sexual abuse victims: a systematic review. Sleep Med Rev 16(1): 15-25


Doctoral degrees

Jelena Mrdalj. The early life condition. Importance for sleep, circadian rhythmicity, behaviour and response to later life challenges. Link for Thesis.

Iris Mulders Steine. Predictors of symptoms outcomes among adult survivors of sexual abuse: The role of abuse characteristics, cumulative childhood maltreatment, genetic variants, and perceived social support.