Childhood trauma in depression and anxiety disorders

Childhood abuse and other adverse childhood experiences have been linked to the later emergence of psychopathology, in particular depressive and anxiety disorders in adulthood. In the present study we identify and describe the effect of childhood trauma and negative life-events on the development and long-term progress of anxiety and depressive disorders versus controls.

Data are obtained from 2983 adult participants in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Variables used in all analyses include childhood life events and trauma, as main predictors and the presence of anxiety and/or mood disorders, based on CIDI DSM-IV diagnosis, as outcome variables. Covariates considered in the analyses are age, gender and education. Clinical characteristics and personality traits, as potential mediators, are taken into account in the follow up analysis. The analyses are done at baseline and repeated prospectively (2 and 4 years follow up) to assess the associations with change in diagnostic status and/or severity of psychopathology.

Jacqueline G.F.M. Hovens, psychiatrist