Child-specific and family-wide risk factors using the retrospective Childhood Experience of Care & Abuse (CECA) instrument: A life-course study of adult chronic depression - 3

George W. Brown, Tom K.J. Craig, Tirril O. Harris, Rachel V. Handley, Anna L. Harvey, Joyce Serido

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: An earlier paper [Brown, G.W., Craig, T.K.J., Harris, T.O., Handley, R.V., Harvey, A.L., 2007a-this issue. Development of a retrospective interview measure of parental maltreatment using the Childhood Experience of Care & Abuse (CECA) instrument - a life-course study of adult chronic depression - 1. J. Affect. Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2007.05.022] documented an association between parental maltreatment and risk of adult chronic depression. This paper explores the contribution of other child-specific factors (e.g. conduct problems) and family-wide factors (e.g. parental discord). Methods: Data are derived from an enquiry of 198 women largely comprising of adult sister pairs. Data was collected by semi-structured interviews covering a wide range of parental behaviour and childhood behaviour. Results: Parental maltreatment emerged as channelling the effect of family-wide factors on risk of adult chronic depression, but with a child's conduct problems and shame-withdrawal partly mediating this link. A child's depression before 17, although correlated with parental maltreatment, did not appear to play a significant role in adult depression. This core model is supplemented by analyses exploring the mechanisms involved. A mother's rejection/physical abuse and her depression via her lax control, for example, account for the link of parental maltreatment with conduct problems. Also 'rebelliousness' of a child relates to the chances of her low affection moving to rejection. "Rebelliousness" also appears to play a role in why the paired sisters so often had a different experience of maltreatment. Limitations: The data is collected retrospectively - but see [Brown, G.W., Craig, T.K.J., Harris, T.O., Handley, R.V., Harvey, A.L., 2007b-this issue. Validity of retrospective measures of early maltreatment and depressive episodes using the Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA) instrument - A life-course study of adult chronic depression - 2. J. Affect. Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2007.06.003]. Conclusions: Child-specific factors play a major role in the origins of adult chronic depressive episodes. This, however, is fully consistent with an equally significant contribution from family-wide factors. The crucial point is that the link of the latter with such depression appears to be indirect and mediated very largely by parental maltreatment. Crown

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-236
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume103
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007

Keywords

  • Conduct problems
  • Depression
  • Parental discord
  • Parental maltreatment
  • Shame

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