Childhood adversity, recent life events and depression in late life

H.C. Comijs, A.T.F. Beekman, F. Smit, M. Bremmer, T.G. van Tilburg, D.J.H. Deeg

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Background: The study investigates whether persons who have experienced childhood adversity are more likely to develop depressive symptoms when faced with recent events. Method: Data were used from a population-based sample, aged 55 to 85 years (n = 1887), which were not depressed at baseline. Childhood adversities and recent stressful life events were retrospectively assessed. Depressive symptoms were measured with the CES-D. Results: 14.4% of our sample experienced adverse events during childhood (< 18 yrs) and 35.4% experienced recent events. Associations of depressive symptoms were found with both, childhood adversity (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.21-2.69) and recent life events (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.01-2.00). The effect of recent events on depressive symptoms was not modified by childhood adversity. Limitations: Underreporting may be present due to unwillingness to report embarrassing events or to disclose painful memories. Conclusions: No evidence was found for the assumption that older persons were more vulnerable for depression in reaction to recent life events when they were exposed to childhood adversity. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)243-246
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
    Issue number1-3
    Early online date8 Feb 2007
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


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