Childhood neglect and trajectories of affective symptoms throughout adulthood: a British birth cohort study

Rozanski, Sophie, Schmidt, Alexandra, John, Amber and Gaysina, Darya (2021) Childhood neglect and trajectories of affective symptoms throughout adulthood: a British birth cohort study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 295. pp. 416-421. ISSN 0165-0327

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Childhood maltreatment, including neglect, can affect an individual's mental health. However, there is a gap in current literature investigating the long-term, dynamic effects of childhood neglect on adult affective symptoms (AS).

Data were used from the National Child Development Study (a British 1958 birth cohort). Childhood neglect was prospectively measured at ages 7 and 11. Five distinct trajectories of AS have been derived previously, using data from the Malaise Inventory Scale (at ages 23, 33, 42 and 50): ‘no symptoms’, ‘persistent mild/moderate symptoms’, ‘low and increasing symptoms’, ‘high and increasing symptoms’ and ‘high and decreasing symptoms’ (John et al., 2019). Multinomial logistic regressions were used to explore whether childhood neglect was associated with AS trajectory membership, while adjusting for a number of covariates.

Results revealed that childhood neglect was significantly associated with ‘high and decreasing’, ‘high and increasing’ and ‘persistent mild/moderate’ AS trajectories from young adulthood through midlife. There was no association with the ‘low and increasing’ AS trajectory. When testing for at age specific effects, neglect experienced at age 7 only, or at age 11 only, was predictive of ‘high and decreasing symptoms’ trajectory, whereas neglect experienced at both ages was predictive of ‘persistent mild/moderate symptoms’ trajectory.

Childhood neglect has negative long-lasting effects on trajectories of adult mental health. This finding has important implications for early intervention for individuals who have experienced childhood neglect.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Anxiety, Childhood maltreatment, Depression, Neglect
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 07:13
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 07:15

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