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Associations among depressive symptoms, childhood abuse, neuroticism, and adult stressful life events in the general adult population

Authors Ono K, Takaesu Y, Nakai Y, Shimura A, Ono Y, Murakoshi A, Matsumoto Y, Tanabe H, Kusumi I, Inoue T

Received 23 November 2016

Accepted for publication 21 December 2016

Published 15 February 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 477—482


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi

Kotaro Ono,1 Yoshikazu Takaesu,1 Yukiei Nakai,2 Akiyoshi Shimura,1 Yasuyuki Ono,1 Akiko Murakoshi,1 Yasunori Matsumoto,1 Hajime Tanabe,3 Ichiro Kusumi,2 Takeshi Inoue1

1Department of Psychiatry, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, 2Department of Psychiatry, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido, 3Department of Clinical Human Sciences, Graduate school of Humanities and Social Sciences, Shizuoka University, Shizuoka, Japan

Recent studies have suggested that the interactions among several factors affect the onset, progression, and prognosis of major depressive disorder. This study investigated how childhood abuse, neuroticism, and adult stressful life events interact with one another and affect depressive symptoms in the general adult population.
Subjects and methods: A total of 413 participants from the nonclinical general adult population completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the Child Abuse and Trauma Scale, the neuroticism subscale of the shortened Eysenck Personality Questionnaire – Revised, and the Life Experiences Survey, which are self-report scales. Structural equation modeling (Mplus version 7.3) and single and multiple regressions were used to analyze the data.
Results: Childhood abuse, neuroticism, and negative evaluation of life events increased the severity of the depressive symptoms directly. Childhood abuse also indirectly increased the negative appraisal of life events and the severity of the depressive symptoms through enhanced neuroticism in the structural equation modeling.
Limitations: There was recall bias in this study. The causal relationship was not clear because this study was conducted using a cross-sectional design.
Conclusion: This study suggested that neuroticism is the mediating factor for the two effects of childhood abuse on adulthood depressive symptoms and negative evaluation of life events. Childhood abuse directly and indirectly predicted the severity of depressive symptoms.

Keywords: childhood abuse, depression, neuroticism, stressful life events, structural equation modeling

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