Childhood adversities and adult depression: basic patterns of association in a US national survey

Psychol Med. 1993 Aug;23(3):679-90. doi: 10.1017/s0033291700025460.


The long-term relationships between various forms of childhood adversity and adult episodes of major depression are explored in a representative household survey of the United States adult (age 25+) population. Seven of the eight childhood adversities considered are significantly associated with recent (12-month) episodes of depression. These effects are largely indirect consequences of some childhood adversities leading to a life history of depression and prior depression leading to new episodes. Only three of the eight childhood adversities directly affect recent onset or recurrence. The paper closes with a discussion of implications for future research on the long-term effects of childhood adversities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Family
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parent-Child Relations