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BMC Womens Health. 2019 Jul 23;19(1):102. doi: 10.1186/s12905-019-0797-z.

Childhood adversity and women's cardiometabolic health in adulthood: associations with health behaviors, psychological distress, mood symptoms, and personality.

Author information

1
Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA. lotte@iastate.edu.
2
Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. lotte@iastate.edu.
3
Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. lotte@iastate.edu.
4
Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
5
Division of Developmental Medicine, Center for Health and Community, San Francisco, California, USA.
6
Departments of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Amsterdam UMC at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
7
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
8
Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
9
Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.
10
Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Amsterdam UMC at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We tested whether childhood adversity is associated with poor cardiometabolic health in adulthood among a sample of overweight or obese Dutch women of reproductive age. Health behaviors, psychological distress, mood symptoms, or personality traits were included as potential mediators.

METHODS:

Data came from a follow-up visit (N = 115), carried out in 2016/2017, of a randomized controlled lifestyle intervention trial in 577 obese infertile women. The associations between total adversity exposure score and cardiometabolic health were tested with regression models. Sleep, smoking and eating behavior, symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, and personality traits were potential mediators.

RESULTS:

Childhood adversity scores were not associated with cardiometabolic outcomes but were associated with poorer sleep quality score (M = 7.2 (SD = 3.5) for those with ≥2 types of events versus 4.8 (2.9) for those with no events; p = 0.022), higher external eating score (26.4 (8.7) versus 21.8 (10.3); p = 0.038), higher perceived stress score (17.1 (6.8) versus 12.3 (4.5); p = 0.016), post-traumatic stress score (1.9 (1.5) versus 0.6 (1.1); p < 0.001), and lower agreeableness score (28.2 (4.2) versus 30.3 (3.1); p = 0.035).

CONCLUSION:

Childhood adversity was associated with poorer health behaviors including sleep and eating behavior, and more stress-related symptoms, but not with women's cardiometabolic health.

KEYWORDS:

Cardiometabolic health; Childhood adversity; Health behaviors; Mental wellbeing; Personality

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