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History of childhood maltreatment increased risk of depression in adolescents and young adults

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Questions Does a history of childhood abuse and neglect increase risk of depressive disorders and suicidal behaviour in adolescents or young adults? Does this risk differ by type of maltreatment (ie, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect)?


Population based cohort study beginning in 1975, with follow up in 1992.


2 counties in upstate New York, USA.


639 youths (52% men) who were >18 years of age for whom information about child maltreatment was available from state records.

Assessment of risk factors

Data on child maltreatment were obtained from the New York State Central Registry for Child Abuse and Neglect and from retrospective self reports during the 1992 follow up. Data were also collected on the following contextual factors: sex, ethnicity, IQ, difficult childhood temperament, low maternal education, low maternal self esteem, maternal alienation, anger, dissatisfaction, external locus of control, sociopathy, serious maternal illness, low maternal …

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  • Source of funding: National Institute of Mental Health.

  • For correspondence: Dr J Brown, Department of Pediatrics, Child Advocacy Center, Vanderbilt Clinic VC4-402, 622 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA. Fax +1 212 305 9742.