U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

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
Joseph R. Cohen; Kari N. Thomsen; Anna Racioppi; Sergi Ballespi; Tamara Sheinbaum; Thomas R. Kwani; Neus Barrantes-Vidal
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)