Childhood adversity and the endogenous versus nonendogenous distinction in women with major depression

Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Mar;159(3):387-93. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.159.3.387.


Objective: Previous research has reported an association between childhood adversity and the nonendogenous subtype of depression. The present study sought to address this association by 1) investigating the relationship between depression subtype and different levels of childhood adversity and 2) examining the relative contribution of different types of childhood adversity to depression subtypes.

Method: The authors conducted an investigator-based assessment of childhood adversity in a community group of 76 depressed women, 31 of whom met Research Diagnostic Criteria for endogenous depression.

Results: In contrast to previous studies, severe physical abuse, sexual abuse, antipathy, and neglect were significantly and preferentially associated with endogenous depression, as were both high and lax levels of supervision and discipline. In multivariate analyses, severe sexual abuse and a composite variable comprising antipathy and neglect were most strongly associated with endogenous depression.

Conclusions: Implications of these findings in the context of the existing literature are discussed, and potential mediators of the relationship between childhood adversity and endogenous depression are presented as avenues for future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / statistics & numerical data
  • Depressive Disorder / classification
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Northwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Occupations
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors