TORONTO: Researchers have found that individuals exposed to early life stress (ELS) were more likely to develop a major depressive disorder (MDD) in childhood or adolescence.
For the findings, the research team examined the association between eight different types of ELS and youth-onset depression.
The authors found that while some types of ELS (e.g. poverty) were not associated with MDD, other types of stress, including emotional abuse, were associated more strongly with MDD than a broader assessment of ELS.
"Researchers have documented that early life stress increases the risk of developing depression in adulthood," said study lead author Joelle LeMoult from the University of British Columbia in Canada. "We wanted to know the degree to which it was associated with depression earlier in life—specifically during childhood or adolescence," LeMoult added.
Given that earlier onset of depression often mean a more recurrent course across the lifespan. The researchers found that exposure to early life stress more than doubled the likelihood someone will develop youth-onset depression. "These findings indicate that there is a narrow window between adversity and depression during which we have the opportunity to intervene," the study authors wrote.
Sexual abuse, physical abuse, death of a family member, domestic violence, and emotional abuse were associated with a significantly higher risk for youth-onset MDD, the researchers said. (IANS)