Lifetime stressors and recurrent depression: preliminary findings of the Adult Life Phase Interview (ALPHI)
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Background: The well-established association between stress and depression is explored in a lifespan context in relation to adverse childhood experience. A new retrospective interview instrument, the Adult Life Phase Interview (ALPHI) examined the number of chronic stressors (or `adversities') experienced over the adult life course in relation to chronic or recurrent clinical depression. The role of such lifetime adversity in mediating the relationship between childhood neglect/abuse and adult disorder was examined. Method: The ALPHI uses an investigator-based, contextual approach suited to retrospective and time-linked enquiries. Reliability of the instrument was found to be satisfactory. Its association with both lifetime clinical depression and childhood neglect or abuse was examined in a community series of 198 women, consisting of 99 sister pairs, where one-half of the series was selected for having had adverse childhood experience and the other for comparison. Results: Adult adversity, both at settled/fixed times and at times of major life change, was significantly higher among those with prior childhood neglect or abuse. Both a high adult adversity score and childhood neglect or abuse were related to chronic or recurrent episodes of clinical depression, with logistic regression indicating both indices contributed independently to disorder. The same results held when controls were made for sister status, given possible familial bias in experience, and for age, since women under age 25 had fewer adult phases and less adversity. Conclusions: Characteristics of adult life phases and change-points are described and the relevance of the measure for intensive survey work seeking to investigate relationships between lifespan experience and depression is discussed.
KeywordsClinical Depression Adverse Childhood Experience Childhood Neglect Contextual Approach Sister Pair
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