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Why does early childhood deprivation increase adult risk for depression and anxiety? A developmental cascade model

Why does early childhood deprivation increase adult risk for depression and anxiety? A developmental cascade model
Why does early childhood deprivation increase adult risk for depression and anxiety? A developmental cascade model
Background: Using data from the English & Romanian Adoptees (ERA) study we recently reported that early time-lmited exposure to severe institutional deprivation is associated with early onset and persistent neurodevelopmental problems and later onset emotional problems. Here we examine possible reasons for the late emergence of emotional problems in this cohort. Our main focus is on testing a developmental cascade mediated via the functional impact of early-appearing neurodevelopmental problems on late adolescent functioning. We also explore a second putative pathway via sensitization to stress. Methods: The ERA study includes 165 Romanian individuals who spent their early lives in grossly depriving institutions and were subsequently adopted into UK families, along with 52 UK adoptees with no history of deprivation. Age six years symptoms of neurodevelopmental problems and age 15 anxiety/depression symptoms were assessed via parental reports. Young adult symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed by both parent and self-reports; young adults also completed measures of stress reactivity , exposure to adverse life events and functioning in work and interpersonal relationships. Results: The path between early institutional deprivation and adult emotional problems was mediated via the impact of early neurodevelopmental problems on unemployment and poor friendship functioning during the transition to adulthood. The findings with regard to early deprivation, later life stress reactivity and emotional problems were inconclusive. Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that the risk for adult depression and anxiety following extreme institutional deprivation is explained through the effects of early neurodevelopmental problems on later social and vocational functioning. Future research should more fully examine the role of stress susceptibility in this model.
institutional deprivation, depression, anxiety, emotional problems, developmental cascades, neurodevelopmental problems, longitudinal, prospective, natural experiment
1469-7610
Golm, Dennis
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Maughan, Barbara
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Barker, Edward
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Hill, Jonathan
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Kennedy, Mark
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Knights, Nicola
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Kreppner, Jana
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Kumsta, Robert
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Schlotz, Wolff
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Rutter, Michael
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Sonuga-Barke, Edmund
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Golm, Dennis
ae337f61-561e-4d44-9cf3-3e5611c7b484
Maughan, Barbara
b27792f9-616f-4ded-852d-30d6ddb1ca76
Barker, Edward
0555ce97-9722-4a36-b1fb-f0b2e7215063
Hill, Jonathan
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Kennedy, Mark
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Knights, Nicola
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Kreppner, Jana
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Kumsta, Robert
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Schlotz, Wolff
ad120ba5-4482-4e57-8dbc-75ed2eb6fc7d
Rutter, Michael
c58bfa2b-e6cf-4a67-9e76-9e20e7695aa4
Sonuga-Barke, Edmund
180c5d1b-8848-41e4-ba25-2b6461a05b5e

Golm, Dennis, Maughan, Barbara, Barker, Edward, Hill, Jonathan, Kennedy, Mark, Knights, Nicola, Kreppner, Jana, Kumsta, Robert, Schlotz, Wolff, Rutter, Michael and Sonuga-Barke, Edmund (2020) Why does early childhood deprivation increase adult risk for depression and anxiety? A developmental cascade model. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. (doi:10.1111/jcpp.13205).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Using data from the English & Romanian Adoptees (ERA) study we recently reported that early time-lmited exposure to severe institutional deprivation is associated with early onset and persistent neurodevelopmental problems and later onset emotional problems. Here we examine possible reasons for the late emergence of emotional problems in this cohort. Our main focus is on testing a developmental cascade mediated via the functional impact of early-appearing neurodevelopmental problems on late adolescent functioning. We also explore a second putative pathway via sensitization to stress. Methods: The ERA study includes 165 Romanian individuals who spent their early lives in grossly depriving institutions and were subsequently adopted into UK families, along with 52 UK adoptees with no history of deprivation. Age six years symptoms of neurodevelopmental problems and age 15 anxiety/depression symptoms were assessed via parental reports. Young adult symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed by both parent and self-reports; young adults also completed measures of stress reactivity , exposure to adverse life events and functioning in work and interpersonal relationships. Results: The path between early institutional deprivation and adult emotional problems was mediated via the impact of early neurodevelopmental problems on unemployment and poor friendship functioning during the transition to adulthood. The findings with regard to early deprivation, later life stress reactivity and emotional problems were inconclusive. Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that the risk for adult depression and anxiety following extreme institutional deprivation is explained through the effects of early neurodevelopmental problems on later social and vocational functioning. Future research should more fully examine the role of stress susceptibility in this model.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 19 December 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 February 2020
Keywords: institutional deprivation, depression, anxiety, emotional problems, developmental cascades, neurodevelopmental problems, longitudinal, prospective, natural experiment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436787
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436787
ISSN: 1469-7610
PURE UUID: 9cf427ad-072e-470d-90a0-5848bb78294c
ORCID for Dennis Golm: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2950-7935
ORCID for Jana Kreppner: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3527-9083

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Date deposited: 09 Jan 2020 17:30
Last modified: 19 Feb 2020 01:34

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Contributors

Author: Dennis Golm ORCID iD
Author: Barbara Maughan
Author: Edward Barker
Author: Jonathan Hill
Author: Mark Kennedy
Author: Nicola Knights
Author: Jana Kreppner ORCID iD
Author: Robert Kumsta
Author: Wolff Schlotz
Author: Michael Rutter
Author: Edmund Sonuga-Barke

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