Post-adoption experiences of discrimination moderated by sleep quality are associated with depressive symptoms in previously institutionalized youth over and above deprivation-induced depression risk

Mirinda M. Morency, Bonny Donzella, Brie Reid, Rich Lee, Donald R. Dengel, Megan R. Gunnar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The association of post-adoption experiences of discrimination with depressive symptoms was examined in 93 previously institutionalized (PI) youth (84% transracially adopted). Additionally, we explored whether sleep quality statistically moderated this association. Notably, we examined these associations after covarying a measure of autonomic balance (high/low frequency ratio in heart rate variability) affected by early institutional deprivation and a known risk factor for depression. PI youth exhibited more depressive symptoms and experiences of discrimination than 95 comparison youth (non-adopted, NA) raised in their biological families in the United States. In the final regression model, there was a significant interaction between sleep quality and discrimination, such that at higher levels of sleep quality, the association between discrimination and depression symptoms was non-significant. Despite being cross-sectional, the results suggest that the risk of depression in PI youth involves post-adoption experiences that appear unrelated to the impacts of early deprivation on neurobiological processes associated with depression risk. It may be crucial to examine methods of improving sleep quality and socializing PI youth to cope with discrimination as protection against discrimination and microaggressions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press.

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • autonomic balance
  • depression
  • discrimination
  • early life stress
  • institutional rearing
  • sleep
  • transracial adoption

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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