EEG Connectivity Patterns in Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Multivariate Application Considering Curvature of Brain Space


  • Lisa M. Black
  • William J. Hudspeth
  • Alicia L. Townsend
  • Eugenia Bodenhamer-Davis



Introduction. A limitation of the bivariate electroencephalogram (EEG) coherence measure is low precision in location specification in anatomical space and functional connectivity. A more powerful use of functional connectivity of distributed brain systems maybe evaluation of patterns of correlations obtained through the functional connectivity matrix of Principal Component Analysis. The eigenimages that result from such analysis represent a descriptive characterization of anatomically distributed changes in the brain. There is little research exploring the relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and connectivity patterns in the brain. This study explored the connectivity patterns between 24 high-functioning, unmedicated adults with a history of CSA and age, gender, and handedness matched highfunctioning adults with no history of CSA. Method. Resting eyes closed quantitative EEG (QEEG) was recorded from 19 scalp locations with a linked ears reference from 60 unmedicated adult research participants. The QEEG was subjected to measures of connectivity for analysis. Results. A robust analysis of QEEG cortical coherence revealed moderate to large effect sizes indicating patterns of both increased and decreased connectivity between brain locations, which differentiated the groups. Conclusion. The EEG coherence information extended previous work in nonclinical, unmedicated adults and suggested CSA impacts cortical function resulting in lateralized differences. Statistical methods for preventing small distribution changes from making large changes in power or probability coverage because of small and nonnormal samples is also discussed.