Childhood adversity and depressive symptoms following retirement in the Gazel cohort

J Psychiatr Res. 2016 Nov;82:80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.07.015. Epub 2016 Jul 18.


Background: Only a few studies have examined whether specific moderators may impact the magnitude of the relationship between retirement and depression. The aim of this study was to examine the potential moderating role of adverse childhood life events (ACLE) on changes in depressive symptoms following retirement in the GAZEL cohort.

Methods: 9242 participants, followed up since 1989, completed the Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CESD) every three years and were asked in 2004 to answer an ACLE questionnaire. Subjects were classed according to 6 clusters by Two-Step Cluster Analysis (no ACLE: cluster 1; increasing material deprivation: clusters 2 to 4; history of early separation: cluster 5 and history of conflicts or violence: cluster 6), and then stratified for sex. Analyses were based on general linear models with the CESD variation between, before and after retirement as dependent variable. All results were adjusted according to age, marital status, occupational status, alcohol consumption, self-rated health and CESD score before retirement.

Results: The association between exposure to ACLE and changes in depressive symptoms following retirement was significant in both men (F = 6.929; p < 0.001; eta(2) = 0.005) and women (F = 6.890; p < 0.001; eta(2) = 0.016). Exposure to early separation or history of conflicts or violence during childhood was associated with less improvement in both men and women, whereas early exposure to material deprivation only affected results in men.

Conclusions: Programs aimed at facilitating retirement transition may focus on subjects at risk of not experiencing the expected benefits of retirement, which is the case for those with a history of ACLE.

Keywords: Childhood experience; Depression; Depressive symptoms; Elderly; Retirement.

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Inventory
  • Retirement / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires