Early Adversity and the Prospective Prediction of Depressive and Anxiety Disorders in Adolescents

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.48). 03/2005; 33(1):13-24. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-005-0930-3
Source: PubMed


The current study was a prospective exploration of the specificity of early childhood adversities as predictors of anxiety and depressive disorders in adolescents. Participants were 816 adolescents (414 males, 402 females) with diagnostic information collected at age 15; information on early adversities had been collected from the mothers during pregnancy, at birth, age 6 months, and age 5 years for a related study. Adolescents with "pure" anxiety disorders were compared with adolescents with "pure" depressive disorders (major depressive disorder, dysthymia), and these groups were compared to never-ill controls. Analyses controlled for gender and maternal depression and anxiety disorders. Results indicated that adolescents with anxiety disorders were more likely than depressed youth to have been exposed to various early stressors, such as maternal prenatal stress, multiple maternal partner changes, and more total adversities, whereas few early childhood variables predicted depressive disorders. Even when current family stressors at age 15 were controlled, early adversity variables again significantly predicted anxiety disorders. Results suggest that anxiety disorders may be more strongly related to early stress exposure, while depressive disorders may be related to more proximal stressors or to early stressors not assessed in the current study.

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    • "Adverse early life environments in humans can elevate the risk of both physical and psychiatric disorders in adulthood (e.g.,Batten et al., 2004;Goodwin and Stein, 2004;Phillips et al., 2005;Read et al., 2005;Anda et al., 2006). The ''developmental origins of health and disease'' hypothesis proposes that pre-natal and postnatal environments play unique roles in influencing adult health and the risk of disease development (Godfrey, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Both maternal exposure to stressors and exposure of offspring to stressors during early life can have lifelong effects on the physiology and behavior of offspring. Stress exposure can permanently shape an individual's phenotype by influencing the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is responsible for the production and regulation of glucocorticoids such as corticosterone (CORT). In this study we used captive zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) to examine the effects of matching and mismatching maternal and early post-natal exposure to one of two types of antigens or a control on HPA axis reactivity in adult offspring. Prior to breeding, adult females were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or a control. Offspring of females in each of the three treatments were themselves exposed to LPS, KLH or a control injection at 5 and 28days post-hatch. When offspring were at least 18months of age, standardized capture and restraint stress tests were conducted to determine the impact of the treatments on adult stress responsiveness. We found significant interaction effects between maternal and offspring treatments on stress-induced CORT levels, and evidence in support of the environment matching hypothesis for KLH-treated birds not LPS-treated birds. KLH-treated offspring of KLH-treated mothers exhibited reduced stress-induced CORT levels, whereas LPS-treated or control offspring of KLH-treated mothers exhibited elevated stress-induced CORT levels. Although the treatment effects on baseline CORT were non-significant, the overall pattern was similar to the effects observed on stress-induced CORT levels. Our results highlight the complex nature of HPA axis programming, and to our knowledge, provide the first evidence that a match or mismatch between pre and post-natal antigen exposure can have life-long consequences for HPA axis function. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
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    • "In humans, for example, retrospective studies and, more recently, prospective studies, document the increased occurrence of emotional problems in children and adolescents whose mothers experienced emotional stress during pregnancy (Talge et al., 2007). Exposure to various types of stressors in utero, such as obstetric complications, psychological stress, natural disasters or intra-uterine infections, has also been associated with an increased risk of developing anxiety, depressive states, schizophrenia, ADHD, autism and substance abuse (Melichar et al., 2001; Koenig et al., 2002; Ben Amor et al., 2005; Phillips et al., 2005; Szpir, 2006; Khashan et al., 2008; Weinstock, 2011). These commonest brain disorders typically exhibit a neurodevelopment component and a sex bias, as well as an involvement of midbrain dopaminergic circuitry. "
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    ABSTRACT: The knowledge that diverse populations of dopaminergic neurons within the ventral tegmental area (VTA) can be distinguished in terms of their molecular, electrophysiological and functional properties, as well as their differential projections to cortical and subcortical regions has significance for key brain functions, such as the regulation of motivation, working memory and sensorimotor control. Almost without exception, this understanding has evolved from landmark studies performed in the male sex. However, converging evidence from both clinical and pre-clinical studies illustrates that the structure and functioning of the VTA dopaminergic systems are intrinsically different in males and females. This may be driven by sex differences in the hormonal environment during adulthood ('activational' effects) and development (perinatal and/or pubertal 'organizational' effects), as well as genetic factors, especially the SRY gene on the Y chromosome in males, which is expressed in a sub-population of adult midbrain dopaminergic neurons. Stress and stress hormones, especially glucocorticoids, are important factors which interact with the VTA dopaminergic systems in order to achieve behavioral adaptation and enable the individual to cope with environmental change. Here, also, there is male/female diversity not only during adulthood, but also in early life when neurobiological programing by stress or glucocorticoid exposure differentially impacts dopaminergic developmental trajectories in male and female brains. This may have enduring consequences for individual resilience or susceptibility to pathophysiological change induced by stressors in later life, with potential translational significance for sex bias commonly found in disorders involving dysfunction of the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic systems. These findings highlight the urgent need for a better understanding of the sexual dimorphism in the VTA if we are to improve strategies for the prevention and treatment of debilitating conditions which differentially affect men and women in their prevalence and nature, including schizophrenia, attention/deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, depression and addiction.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Neuroscience
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    • "The occurrence of maltreatment in childhood and adolescence has been reported to be associated with several childhood psychiatric disorders and later adult mood disorders (7), anxiety disorders (8), substance use disorders (9), antisocial behavior (10) and psychoses (11). "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between different types of child maltreatment and the presence of psychiatric disorders in highly vulnerable children and adolescents served by a multidisciplinary program. In total, 351 patients with a mean age of 12.47, of whom 68.7% were male and 82.1% lived in shelters, underwent psychiatric evaluations based on the Kiddie-Sads-Present and Lifetime Version. Two different methods were used to evaluate maltreatment: medical records were reviewed to identify previous diagnoses related to socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances, and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire was used to obtain a structured history of trauma. Bivariate associations were evaluated between psychiatric disorders and evidence of each type and the frequency of abuse. The most frequent psychiatric diagnoses were substance use disorders, affective disorders and specific disorders of early childhood, whereas 13.67% of the sample had no psychiatric diagnosis. All patients suffered neglect, and 58.4% experienced physical or sexual abuse. The presence of a history of multiple traumas was only associated with a diagnosis of substance use disorder. Mental retardation showed a strong positive association with reported physical abuse and emotional neglect. However, a negative correlation was found when we analyzed the presence of a history of multiple traumas and mental retardation. All children living in adverse conditions deserve careful assistance, but we found that physical abuse and emotional neglect were most strongly associated with mental retardation and multiple traumas with substance abuse.
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