Childhood adversities have been proposed to modify later stress sensitivity and risk of depressive disorder in several ways: by stress sensitization, stress amplification, and stress inoculation. Combining these models, we hypothesized that childhood adversities would increase risk of early, but not later, onsets of depression (Hypothesis 1). In those without an early onset, childhood adversities were hypothesized to predict a relatively low risk of depression in high-stress conditions (Hypothesis 2a) and a relatively high risk of depression in low-stress conditions (Hypothesis 2b), compared to no childhood adversities. These hypotheses were tested in 1,584 participants of the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey, a prospective cohort study of adolescents. Childhood adversities were assessed retrospectively at ages 11 and 13.5, using self-reports and parent reports. Lifetime DSM-IV major depressive episodes were assessed at age 19, by means of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Stressful life events during adolescence were established using interview-based contextual ratings of personal and network events. The results provided support for all hypotheses, regardless of the informant and timeframe used to assess childhood adversities and regardless of the nature (personal vs. network, dependent vs. independent) of recent stressful events. These findings suggest that age at first onset of depression may be an effective marker to distinguish between various types of reaction patterns.
Both structural (i.e., SES, familial psychopathology, family composition) and dynamic (i.e., parental warmth and rejection) family characteristics have been associated with aggressive and depressive problem development. However, it is unclear to what extent (changes in) dynamic family characteristics have an independent effect on problem development while accounting for stable family characteristics and comorbid problem development. This issue was addressed by studying problem development in a large community sample (N = 2,230; age 10-20) of adolescents using Linear Mixed models. Paternal and maternal warmth and rejection were assessed via the Egna Minnen Beträffande Uppfostran for Children (EMBU-C). Aggressive and depressive problems were assessed via subscales of the Youth/Adult Self-Report. Results showed that dynamic family characteristics independently affected the development of aggressive problems. Moreover, maternal rejection in preadolescence and increases in paternal rejection were associated with aggressive problems, whereas decreases in maternal rejection were associated with decreases in depressive problems over time. Paternal and maternal warmth in preadolescence was associated with fewer depressive problems during adolescence. Moreover, increases in paternal warmth were associated with fewer depressive problems over time. Aggressive problems were a stable predictor of depressive problems over time. Finally, those who increased in depressive problems became more aggressive during adolescence, whereas those who decreased in depressive problems became also less aggressive. Besides the effect of comorbid problems, problem development is to a large extent due to dynamic family characteristics, and in particular to changes in parental rejection, which leaves much room for parenting-based interventions.
Objective. Functional somatic symptoms (FSSs) are physical symptoms that cannot be (fully) explained by organic pathology. FSSs are very common among children and adolescents, yet their etiology is largely unknown. We hypothesize that (a) the experience of family disruption due to parental divorce or parental death increases FSSs in adolescents; (b) symptoms of depression and anxiety contribute to the relationship between family disruption and FSSs; (c) girls are more vulnerable to these effects than boys. Method. Data were obtained from the prospective population cohort of Dutch adolescents of the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (N = 2,230), aged 10 to 12 years at baseline. FSSs were assessed using the Somatic Complaints subscale of the Youth Self-Report. Parental divorce and parental death were assessed with self-reports. Both outcome and predictors were assessed during 3 assessment waves over the course of 5 years. Linear mixed models were used to investigate associations between both types of family disruption and FSSs. Results. An interaction with age was found for parental divorce (B = 0.01, p = .02) and parental death (B = 0.03, p = .04), indicating that the influence of family disruption on FSSs increases during adolescence. This relationship seems to be partly explained by symptoms of depression and anxiety. No gender differences were found with regard to the effects of family disruption on FSSs. Conclusions. Family disruption is associated with an increased level of FSSs in late adolescence in both genders. This relationship is partly explained by symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.
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