What do statistics say about the likelihood of adults experiencing depression?
Cheong et al., analysed baseline data from a cohort of 2047 adults aged 50-69. Nearly 24% reported at least once ACE, exposure to ACEs was associated with the likelihood of developing depressive symptoms, but only in those with little social support. Suggesting having a support system around you can negate the risk of developing depression after experiencing ACEs. Ege et al investigated the relationship between ACEs and geriatric depression. In a sample of 8051 adults over the age of 60, they found a significant correlation between depression and all kinds of ACEs. Forced sexual intercourse was the only ACE where only a single occurrence was significantly related to depression in later life. These results suggest that when repeatedly experienced all forms of ACEs can lead to depression, especially sexual abuse. These studies support the idea that depression has its origins in early life. They also highlight the need to for interventions to aid those who suffered ACEs, to prevent the development of depression in later life.
Childhood experience of violence, such as witnessing domestic family abuse, is a form of ACE. Russell, Springer and Greenfield examined the relationship between witnessing violence in childhood and depression. 1175 young adults aged 20-24 completed retrospective self-reports of witnessing abuse. Measures of family context and adversities were also completed. Depressive symptoms in these young adults were measured two years later. The results indicated that regularly witnessing domestic abuse during childhood predicted more depressive symptoms (independent of other risk factors) in young adulthood. Hindin and Gultiano investigated the association between witnessing parental domestic violence and depression in Filipino adolescents. They found female adolescents had significantly higher scores than males on a 12-item scale of depressive symptoms. Overall all adolescents who had observed parental domestic abuse noted more symptoms of depression. The evidence from these studies seems to suggest that being exposed to violence in early life can lead to depression later life. This supports the idea of depression originating in early life environment.