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Childhood Adversity May Lead to Later Depression

J Affect Disord; ePub 2017 Jan 23; Björkenstam, et al

Children exposed to social adversity report higher levels of adolescent depressive symptoms, a recent study found. The results of this study support the long-term negative impact of childhood adversity on adolescent depressive symptoms, regardless of when in childhood the adversity occurs. Longitudinal data were obtained from the Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (n=2,223), a nationally representative survey of US families that incorporates data from parents and their children. Researchers found:

  • Children exposed to social adversity reported higher levels of adolescent depressive symptoms as captured by 2 depression scales.
  • Single-parent household and residential instability were particularly associated with depressive symptoms.
  • A positive relationship was found between cumulative adversity and the risk of adolescent depression.
  • The timing of exposure appeared to have little effect on the risk of adolescent depressive symptoms.


Björkenstam E, Pebley AR, Burström B, Kosidou K. Childhood social adversity and risk of depressive symptoms in adolescence in a US national sample. [Published online ahead of print January 23, 2017]. J Affect Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2017.01.035.