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Developmental and contextual factors in the role of severe childhood trauma in geriatric depression: The sample case of former indentured child laborers


Kuhlman, Kate Ryan; Maercker, Andreas; Bachem, Rahel; Simmen-Janevska, Keti; Burri, Andrea (2013). Developmental and contextual factors in the role of severe childhood trauma in geriatric depression: The sample case of former indentured child laborers. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(11):969-978.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to quantify the association between childhood traumatic experiences and geriatric depression (GDS) in a population of elderly who were exposed to severe childhood trauma. We aimed to identify the role of childhood maltreatment exposure in geriatric depression and the developmental and contextual factors that exacerbate this relationship. We interviewed 141 former indentured child laborers (58 females) about their experiences as children and their current depressive symptoms (Mage=77, SD=6.8). Participants provided their age, the year they were first indentured, duration indentured, current physical health, completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Child maltreatment, specifically emotional abuse, was strongly associated with geriatric depression symptoms. These effects were specific to individuals who were removed from their biological families between the ages of 3 and 9 years, and for children who were indentured for 6-12 years. Finally, depression partially mediated the association between medical conditions and daily health impairment, but not for individuals "at risk" for depression by virtue of their maltreatment experiences. This study was conducted with a specific subpopulation of elderly and therefore may not generalize to all geriatric depression, nor to all generations or populations with exposure to childhood adversity. This study demonstrates the importance of using a developmental framework to understand how childhood maltreatment facilitates increased risk for the development of depression in late life.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to quantify the association between childhood traumatic experiences and geriatric depression (GDS) in a population of elderly who were exposed to severe childhood trauma. We aimed to identify the role of childhood maltreatment exposure in geriatric depression and the developmental and contextual factors that exacerbate this relationship. We interviewed 141 former indentured child laborers (58 females) about their experiences as children and their current depressive symptoms (Mage=77, SD=6.8). Participants provided their age, the year they were first indentured, duration indentured, current physical health, completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Child maltreatment, specifically emotional abuse, was strongly associated with geriatric depression symptoms. These effects were specific to individuals who were removed from their biological families between the ages of 3 and 9 years, and for children who were indentured for 6-12 years. Finally, depression partially mediated the association between medical conditions and daily health impairment, but not for individuals "at risk" for depression by virtue of their maltreatment experiences. This study was conducted with a specific subpopulation of elderly and therefore may not generalize to all geriatric depression, nor to all generations or populations with exposure to childhood adversity. This study demonstrates the importance of using a developmental framework to understand how childhood maltreatment facilitates increased risk for the development of depression in late life.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPSYCH
Date:2013
Deposited On:02 Sep 2013 12:59
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:57
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0145-2134
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.04.013
PubMed ID:23747018

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