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J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Jan;47(1):23-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.08.006. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

Early life trauma predicts self-reported levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms in nonclinical community adults: relative contributions of early life stressor types and adult trauma exposure.

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1
Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Millennium Institute & Discipline of Psychiatry, University of Sydney Medical School, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. Denise_Chu@wsahs.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

Exposure to early life trauma is a known risk factor for depression and anxiety disorders in adulthood. This study aimed to evaluate the relative contributions of early life versus adult trauma in predicting levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms in nonclinical community adults. 1209 nonclinical community adults (18-70 years; 45% male) were assessed for mental health status, early life stressors, lifetime trauma exposure, and self-reported levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms. A subset of the full sample subjected to group comparisons (n = 1088) indicated that early life stressor exposure primarily accounted for significantly higher depressive and anxiety symptom scores when compared against adults reporting to be free of childhood stressor or adult trauma exposure. Subsequent hierarchical multiple regression analyses of this subset using five distinct early life stressor types, namely 'Interpersonal violation', 'Family breakup', 'Disasters/war', 'Familial health trauma/death' and 'Personal health trauma' derived from principal component analysis of a wide range of self-reported early stressor events in the full sample, showed childhood 'Interpersonal violation' differentially predicted higher self-reported depressive and anxiety symptom scores in both males and females. Adult trauma exposure did not significantly predict these symptom scores. These findings underline the relative importance of exposure to 'interpersonal violation' relative to other types of early life stressors and adult trauma in the risk of depressive and anxiety symptoms in nonclinical community adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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