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Yonsei Med J. 2012 Nov 1;53(6):1093-8. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2012.53.6.1093.

Impact of early-life stress and resilience on patients with major depressive disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea.



Early-life stress (ELS) has a long-lasting effect on affective function and may entail an increased risk for major depressive disorder (MDD). However, resilience can play a protective role against developing psychopathology. In this study, we investigated the relationships of depressive symptoms with ELS and resilience in MDD.


Twenty-six patients with MDD as well as age- and gender-matched healthy controls were included in this study. Each subject was assessed concerning ELS, resilience, and depressive symptom severity with self-report questionnaires. Independent samples t-test and Mann-Whitney test were performed to compare ELS and resilience between the patient and control groups. Spearman correlation analyses and linear regression analysis were conducted to investigate significant ELS and resilience factors associated with depressive symptoms.


In the MDD patient group, subjects reported greater exposure to inter- parental violence, and five factor scores on the resilience scale were significantly lower in comparison to the control group. In linear regression analysis, in regards to resilience, depressive symptom score was significantly associated with self-confidence and self-control factors; however, ELS demonstrated no significant association with depressive symptoms.


Among resilience factors, self-confidence and self-control may ameliorate depressive symptoms in MDD. ELS, including inter-parental violence, physical abuse and emotional abuse, might be a risk factor for developing depression. Assessment of early-life stress and intervention programs for increasing resilience capacity would be helpful in treating MDD.

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