Remission from depression much slower in adults who were abused in childhood

Remission from depression is delayed in adults who have experienced childhood physical abuse or parental addictions, a new study by University of Toronto researchers has found. The study is published this week in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

University of Toronto investigators examined a range of factors associated with remission in a sample of 1,128 depressed Canadian adults, drawn from the National Population Health Survey.

Depressed individuals were followed every other year until remission occurred, for up to 12 years. "Our findings indicated that most people bounce back. In fact, three-quarters of individuals were no longer depressed after two years" reported co-author and Professor Emeriti Tahany M. Gadalla. However, not everyone recovered at the same rate.

"Early adversities have far-reaching consequences. The average time to recovery from depression was 9 months longer for adults who had been physically abused during their childhood and about 5 months longer for those whose parents had addiction problems" says lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair in the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

"Numerous studies have shown that and parental addictions make individuals more vulnerable to depression," says co-author and MSW graduate Marla Battiston. "Our research highlights that these factors also slow the recovery time among those who become depressed."

Although this study could not determine why adversities are associated with poor depression outcomes, the researchers speculate that negative experiences may interrupt the normal development of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, which affects stress regulation. "In many studies, adult has been characterized by HPA axis hyperactivity," says co-author and recent PhD graduate, Sarah Brennenstuhl. "This link is an important avenue for future research."

More information: link.springer.com/article/10.1… 07/s00127-013-0814-8

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Physical abuse may raise risk of suicidal thoughts

Apr 24, 2012

The study, published online this month in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, found that approximately one-third of adults who were physically abused in childhood had seriously considered taking their own li ...

Recommended for you

What sign language teaches us about the brain

Jul 25, 2014

The world's leading humanoid robot, ASIMO, has recently learnt sign language. The news of this breakthrough came just as I completed Level 1 of British Sign Language (I dare say it took me longer to master signing ...

Why do men prefer nice women?

Jul 25, 2014

People's emotional reactions and desires in initial romantic encounters determine the fate of a potential relationship. Responsiveness may be one of those initial "sparks" necessary to fuel sexual desire and land a second ...

User comments