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Emerging Adulthood and Prospective Depression: A Simultaneous Test of Cumulative Risk Theories

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 48 Issue: 7 Dated: 2019 Pages: 1353-1364
Date Published
12 pages
This study examined how three risk factors (prior depression, abuse, and neglect) synergistically predicted prospective depressive symptoms in a sample of 214 emerging adults (Mage-21.4 years; SDage-2.4; 78 percent females).

Past research indicates that a history of depression and exposure to abuse and neglect represent some of the most robust predictors of depression in emerging adults; however, studies rarely test the additive or interactive risk associated with these distinct risk factors. In the current study, subtypes of maltreatment and lifetime history of depression were assessed through semi-structured interviews, and depressive symptoms were assessed annually for 3 years via self-report measures. The results indicated that for both males and females, a lifetime history of depression, abuse, and neglect-exposure uniquely conferred risk for elevated depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the interaction between neglect and prior depression forecasted increasing depressive symptoms, and a history of abuse also predicted increasing depressive symptoms, but only in females. These findings are contextualized within extant developmental psychopathology theories, and translational implications for trauma-informed depression prevention efforts are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019