The findings support an association between eight different types of early stress and the development of depression in youth
Washington, DC, July 15, 2020 – A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports that individuals exposed to early life stress (ELS) were more likely to develop major depressive disorder (MDD) in childhood or adolescence than individuals who had not been exposed to ELS.
By examining the association between eight different types of ELS and juvenile onset depression, the authors found that while some types of ELS (e.g. poverty) were not associated with MDD, other types of stress, including emotional abuse, were associated more strongly with MDD than a larger ELS assessment.
“Researchers have documented that stress in early life increases the risk of developing depression in adulthood. We wanted to know how far it was associated with depression in early age, particularly in childhood or adolescence,” he said. lead author Joelle LeMoult, PhD, a researcher from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. “Given that previous onset of depression often means a more recurrent course throughout life. We have found that exposure to early life stress has more than doubled the likelihood that someone will develop a juvenile onset depression.
“These results indicate that there is a narrow window between adversity and depression during which we have the opportunity to intervene.”
The results are based on a meta-analysis of data from 62 journal articles and over 44,000 unique participants. Studies that assessed early stress and the presence or absence of MDD before the age of 18 were also included.
Compared to young people who were not exposed to ELS, young people exposed to ELS were 2.5 times more likely to develop MDD (OR = 2.50; 95% CI [2.08, 3.00]).
The authors also conducted eight further meta-analyzes to examine the association between different types of ELS and a diagnosis of MDD in childhood or adolescence. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, the death of a family member, domestic violence and emotional abuse have been associated with a significantly higher risk of juvenile onset MDD; on the contrary, poverty, illness / injury and exposure to a natural disaster were not.
Several variables moderated the association between ELS and juvenile onset MDD. For example, studies that used interview-based assessments or that included larger specimens reported stronger associations between ELS and depression.
Taken together, the results provide evidence that the negative effects of ELS on the risk of MDD occur early in development, before adulthood, and vary by type of ELS. In addition, the findings support recommendations for using best practice methods in early childhood stress research.
Notes to editors
The article is “Meta-analysis: exposure to early childhood stress and the risk of depression in childhood and adolescence” by Joelle LeMoult, PhD, Kathryn L. Humphreys, PhD, Alison Tracy, MA, Jennifer-Ashley Hoffmeister, BSc, Eunice Ip, BA, Ian H. Gotlib, PhD (https: /
Dr. LeMoult is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She is director of the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Laboratory, a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and a registered clinical psychologist. The general goal of his research is to deepen our understanding of the onset, maintenance and treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders in adolescents and adults. Using a multimodal approach, examine the cognitive, emotional and biological responses to environmental stressors that contribute to depression and anxiety.
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Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) is the official publication of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. JAACAP is the main journal focused exclusively on today’s psychiatric research and on the treatment of the child and adolescent. Published twelve times a year, each issue is committed to its mission of advancing the science of pediatric mental health and promoting the care of young people and their families.
The magazineThe aim is to advance research, clinical practice and theory in child and adolescent psychiatry. He is interested in manuscripts from different points of view, including genetic, epidemiological, neurobiological, cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, social, cultural and economic. Studies of reliability and diagnostic validity, effectiveness of psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological treatment and effectiveness of mental health services are encouraged. The magazine It also seeks to promote the well-being of children and families by publishing academic articles on topics such as health policy, legislation, defense, culture and society and the provision of mental health services for children and families. http: // www.
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