Background: The role of childhood adversities in predicting adulthood depression has been suggested to be complex and in need of additional comprehensive studies.
Aims: This investigation set out to examine whether increased exposure to life events (LEs) in adulthood mediates the association between childhood adversities and adulthood depression.
Methods: This study is based on a random health survey sample from the Finnish working-aged population (n=16,877) with a follow-up of up to 7 years. Depression was identified by Beck Depression Inventory, records of antidepressant prescriptions and hospitalization due to depression obtained from national health registers.
Results: Childhood adversities were associated with an increased likelihood of experiencing a high number of LEs in adulthood and their perceived burdensomeness. The mean number of new LEs correlated significantly (P<0.001) in a dose-response relationship with the number of childhood adversities. Reporting childhood adversities was associated with a 1.28-2.70-fold increase in the odds of depression as indicated by BDI score, a 1.29-1.94-fold increase in the rate of antidepressant prescriptions and a 1.17-4.04-fold increase in the risk of hospitalization due to depression. Adjustment for new LE attenuated these associations by 21-24%, but did not render them insignificant.
Conclusions: Increased exposure to adult negative life events proximal to adult depression may partially explain the association between childhood adversities and adult depression.
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