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Psychological Trauma Exposure Increases MDD Risk

Psychiatry Res; 2019 Feb; Blakey, Yi, et al

Findings of a recent study underscore the role of traumatic stress-related interference and self-medication in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). Researchers tested the hypothesis that traumatic stress symptom-related interference with daily activities and with relationships, and self-medicating traumatic stress symptoms with alcohol and with drugs, would predict MDD onset in a nationally representative sample after controlling for established risk factors. Data were drawn from Waves 1 and 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) using 2 samples: adults reporting lifetime trauma exposure but no history of MDD at Wave 1 (n=8,301), and a subset of those participants who met criteria for lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prior to Wave 1 (n=1,055). They found that younger age, female gender, a greater number of different trauma types, traumatic stress-related interference with daily activities, and self-medicating traumatic stress symptoms with alcohol significantly predicted MDD onset in both groups.

Citation:

Blakey SM, Yi JY, Calhoun PS, Beckham JC, Elbogen EB. Why do trauma survivors become depressed? Testing the behavioral model of depression in a nationally representative sample. Psychiatry Res. 2019;272:587-594. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2018.12.150