Victimization In Childhood Affects Depression In Adulthood Via Neuroticism: A Path Analysis Study
Received 21 June 2019
Accepted for publication 12 September 2019
Published 3 October 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 2835—2841
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi
Shuichiro Tachi,1,2 Miki Asamizu,2 Yoshihiro Uchida,1–3 Shigemasa Katayama,1,2 Mayu Naruse,1 Jiro Masuya,1,3 Masahiko Ichiki,1 Takeshi Inoue1
1Department of Psychiatry, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan; 2Seijin Hospital, Tokyo 121-0815, Japan; 3Department of Psychiatry, Ibaraki Medical Center, Tokyo Medical University, Ibaraki 300-0395, Japan
Correspondence: Takeshi Inoue
Department of Psychiatry, Tokyo Medical University, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
Tel +81 3 3342 6111 (Ext. 5754)
Fax +81 3 3340 4499
Background: Adverse experiences, such as low care, overprotection, or abuse in childhood increase the likelihood of depression via their effects on personality traits. Similarly, being victimized in childhood may affect the likelihood of depression via personality traits. In this case-control study, we hypothesized that being victimized in childhood is associated with depression in adulthood via its effect on neuroticism, and verified this hypothesis using path analysis.
Subjects and methods: Eighty-two major depressive disorder (MDD) patients and 350 age-and-sex matched healthy controls completed self-administered questionnaires of demographic data, Patient Health Questionnaire-9, neuroticism, and victimization. The association between victimization, neuroticism, and depressive symptoms or having major depression was investigated by path analysis.
Results: Multiple group path analysis, in which depressive symptoms were considered as dependent variables, showed that the direct effect of victimization in childhood on depressive symptoms was not statistically significant in either healthy controls or MDD patients (standardized path coefficient: 0.079 and 0.084, respectively), but their indirect effects via neuroticism were statistically significant (standardized path coefficient: 0.059 and 0.141, respectively). Path analysis, in which the distinction between healthy controls and MDD patients was a dependent variable, showed that both direct effects and indirect effects of victimization in childhood via neuroticism on the distinction between healthy controls and MDD patients were statistically significant (standardized path coefficient: 0.186 and 0.164, respectively).
Limitations: Recall bias and the relatively small number of MDD patients are limitations of this study. Because it was a case-control survey, this study could not make any conclusions regarding causal associations.
Conclusion: This study suggests the possibility of causal associations between victimization in childhood and depressive symptoms or MDD in adulthood, and the mediation of this association by neuroticism.
Keywords: victimization, neuroticism, depression, major depressive disorder, path analysis
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