Background: Childhood trauma is associated with substance use disorders, including methamphetamine use disorder (MUD). Oxytocin, involved in social bonding, stress regulation, and reward processing, may influence addiction vulnerability and impulsivity in individuals with a history of childhood trauma. Objective: To investigate the relationships among childhood trauma, oxytocin levels, impulsivity, and the age of first methamphetamine use in individuals with MUD. Participants and setting: The study included 298 male participants (148 individuals with MUD and 150 healthy controls) from both probation offices and psychiatric clinics. Methods: Childhood trauma was assessed using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-Short Form (CTQ-SF), impulsivity with the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11 (BIS-11), and plasma oxytocin levels were obtained. Results: Individuals with MUD exhibited higher levels of childhood trauma, impulsivity, and lower plasma oxytocin levels compared to healthy controls. Childhood trauma was associated with a younger age of first methamphetamine use, higher impulsivity, and lower oxytocin levels among individuals with MUD. Plasma oxytocin levels partially mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and both the age of first methamphetamine use and impulsivity. Serial mediation analysis demonstrated that oxytocin levels and impulsivity sequentially mediated the relationship between childhood trauma and the age of first methamphetamine use. Conclusions: The findings reveal the complex interplay among childhood trauma, oxytocin, impulsivity, and methamphetamine use, emphasizing the importance of considering these factors in prevention and intervention strategies for MUD. Future research should explore oxytocin and impulsivity-focused interventions to mitigate the effects of childhood trauma and reduce MUD development risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106579
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • Addiction
  • Age of first use
  • Childhood trauma
  • Impulsivity
  • Methamphetamine
  • Oxytocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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