Tough Childhood Could Lead to Depression

Early trauma, prior depressive tendencies might pose risk for mental illness

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Some people are resilient emotionally to life's struggles, while others must fight off the darkness of depression. A recent study suggests the difference could lie in our childhoods.

Researchers at UCLA have discovered that people who experienced early trauma such as a parent's death or separation, or had previous bouts of depression, are more likely to develop depressive symptoms after a stressful life event.

"To fight depressive tendencies, pay attention to your thinking."

Scientists have known for a while that some people are more prone to depression than others, but this study is one of the first to shed light on why, said George Slavich, assistant professor at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. The researchers interviewed 100 people, 26 men and 74 women, for the study, asking about their childhoods and history of depression.

One possibility for this association could be that people who experience childhood loss or past depression develop negative beliefs about life, researchers said.

Or, the previous stressors could affect brain biology.

To prevent these episodes from happening in the depression prone, Slavich suggested trying to view life in an unbiased manner.
The study appears in a recent online edition of the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

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Review Date: 
June 30, 2011
Last Updated:
July 6, 2011