Childhood Trauma and Depression in Offspring of Psychiatric Patients, and the Role of Parental Support
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Introduction: Adolescent and young adult offspring of patients with a psychiatric disorder are at ultra-high risk to develop depression themselves, and childhood trauma may act as an additional risk factor. The aim of this study was to establish the association between one or multiple types of childhood trauma and depressive symptoms in this high-risk group and to assess whether this association is weaker for offspring who experience parental support. Method: The sample consisted of 518 offspring of patients with an anxiety and/or depressive disorder who participated in the baseline assessment of the Adolescents at Risk of Anxiety and Depression: Neurobiological and Epidemiological approach (ARIADNE) study. The DSM-IV Questionnaire was used to assess depressive symptoms, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) to establish childhood trauma and the Social Support Questionnaire (SSQ) to determine experienced parental support. A hierarchical linear regression was performed to examine the association between childhood trauma and severity of depressive symptomatology, and a moderation analysis to assess the role of parental support in this association. Results: Experiencing childhood trauma is associated with more depressive symptoms in adolescence and young adulthood, and this association did not differ for one or multiple types of trauma when adjusted for anxiety. Parental support did not moderate this association. Discussion: Experiencing childhood trauma is associated with more depressive symptoms in adolescent and young adult offspring of patients with a psychiatric disorder, and this association was not moderated by the level of experienced parental support. Future longitudinal research is needed to examine the course of the development of depressive symptoms after experiencing childhood trauma, and to assess the role of anxiety disorders in this association.