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Oxytocin and vasopressin in posttraumatic stress disorder

The project comprises a meta-analysis and several empirical studies on the interactions between arginine vasopressin, oxytocin and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We differentiate the impact of traumatic events and PTSD symptoms on possible dysregulations of these endocrine systems. In addition, we are interested to explore the impact of both neuropeptides in phases of symptom changes. This involves the development of PTSD symptoms immediately after exposure to a traumatic event as well as psychotherapeutic treatment of PTSD.

Team members



  • Engel, S., Schumacher, S., Niemeyer, H., Kuester, A., Burchert, S., Klusmann, H., Rau, H., Willmund, G.-D., & Knaevelsrud, C. (2021). Associations between oxytocin and vasopressin concentrations, traumatic event exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms: group comparisons, correlations, and courses during an internet-based cognitive-behavioural treatment. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 12(1), 1886499. https://doi.org/10.1080/20008198.2021.1886499 

  • Engel, S., Schumacher, S., Niemeyer, H., Küster, A., Burchert, S., Rau, H., Willmund, G.-D., & Knaevelsrud, C. (2020). Beeinflusst Oxytocin den psychotherapeutischen Prozess? Eine explorative Untersuchung im Kontext einer internetbasierten kognitiv-verhaltenstherapeutischen Behandlung für die posttraumatische Belastungsstörung. Verhaltenstherapie, 30(1), 69-81. https://doi.org/10.1159/000505303 
  • Engel, S., Klusmann, H., Laufer, S., Pfeifer, A., Ditzen, B., van Zuiden, M., Knaevelsrud, C. & Schumacher, S. (2019). Trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder and oxytocin: A meta-analytic investigation of endogenous concentrations and receptor genotype. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. S0149-7634(19), 30046-30046. DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.08.003