MONDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Adults who suffered abuse or
neglect as children have a greatly increased risk of depression,
new research finds.
Researchers analyzed 16 epidemiological studies involving more
than 20,000 people and 10 clinical trials involving more than 3,000
Childhood maltreatment was associated with a two-fold increased
risk of both multiple and long-lasting depression, the analysis
found. Survivors of abuse or neglect were also less likely to
respond well to treatment for depression, including medication and
The research was led by a team at King's College London
Institute of Psychiatry in the U.K. and will appear in an upcoming
issue of the
American Journal of Psychiatry.
"Identifying those at risk of multiple and long-lasting depressive episodes is crucial from a public health perspective. The results indicate that childhood maltreatment is associated both with an increased risk of developing recurrent and persistent episodes of depression, and with an increased risk of responding poorly to treatment," senior investigator Dr. Andrea Danese said in a King's College news release.
Maltreatment included physical, sexual or psychological abuse
and neglect. Preventing abuse and helping kids in those situations
may also help prevent depression later on, researchers said.
Previous research has shown that abuse survivors are more likely
to have abnormalities in brain, endocrine and immune system
response to stress.
For physicians, being aware of a patient's history of
maltreatment may also be useful in determining their prognosis and
making treatment decisions, researchers said.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about