Advertisement

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 43, Issue 8, pp 1403–1413 | Cite as

Moderate Childhood Stress Buffers Against Depressive Response to Proximal Stressors: A Multi-Wave Prospective Study of Early Adolescents

  • Benjamin G. Shapero
  • Jessica L. Hamilton
  • Jonathan P. Stange
  • Richard T. Liu
  • Lyn Y. Abramson
  • Lauren B. Alloy
Article

Abstract

Although the majority of research in the field has focused on childhood stressors as a risk factor for psychopathology, a burgeoning body of literature has focused on the possible steeling effect of moderate types of stressful events. The current study investigated the effects of proximal life stressors on prospective changes in depressive symptoms, and whether a history of moderate childhood adversity would moderate this relationship in a multi-wave study of a diverse community sample of early adolescents (N = 163, 52 % female, 51 % Caucasian). Hierarchical linear modeling was run with four waves of data. Adolescents with greater moderately severe early life events evinced a blunted depressive symptom response to changes in proximal stressful events in the previous 9 months, compared to those with fewer early moderately severe experiences of adversity. These results held after controlling for between-subject factors such as race, gender, severe early life stress, and average stress over the four waves of data. Findings indicate that greater exposure to moderate childhood stressors may buffer against the negative effects of subsequent stressors, suggesting the importance of a nuanced developmental approach to studying the effects of early life stress.

Keywords

Early life stress Depression Attenuated stress response Buffering Steeling Resilience 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported, in part, by NIMH grants MH48216 to Lauren B. Alloy and MH43866 to Lyn Y. Abramson. Manuscript preparation was supported by NIMH grant MH099764 to Benjamin G. Shapero. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Abela, J. R. Z., & Skitch, S. A. (2006). Dysfunctional attitudes, self-esteem, and hassles: cognitive vulnerability to depression in children of affectively ill parents. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45, 1127–1140.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Aiken, L. S. & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions, Sage Publishers.Google Scholar
  3. Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Whitehouse, W. G., Hogan, M. E., Panzarella, C., & Rose, D. T. (2006). Prospective incidence of first onsets and recurrences of depression in individuals at high and low cognitive risk for depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115, 145–156.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Alloy, L. B., Black, S. K., Young, M. E., Goldstein, K. E., Shapero, B. G., Stange, J. P., & Abramson, L. Y. (2012). Cognitive vulnerabilities and depression versus other psychopathology symptoms and diagnoses in early adolescence. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 41, 539–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson, E. R., & Mayes, L. C. (2010). Race/ethnicity and internalizing disorders in youth: a review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30, 338–348.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Auerbach, R. P., Bigda-Peyton, J. S., Eberhart, N. K., Webb, C. A., & Ho, M. R. (2011). Conceptualizing the prospective relationship between social support, stress, and depressive symptoms among adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 475–487.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Beasley, M., Thompson, T., & Davidson, T. (2003). Resilience in responses to life stress: the effects of coping style and cognitive hardiness. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 77–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boyce, W. T., & Ellis, B. J. (2005). Biological sensitivity to context: I. An evolutionary-developmental theory of the origins and functions of stress reactivity. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 271–301.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Calvete, E., Orue, I., & Hankin, B. L. (2013). Transactional relationships among cognitive vulnerabilities, stressors, and depressive symptoms in adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 399–410.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Chandler, L. A. (1981). The source of stress inventory. Psychology in the Schools, 18, 164–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S. L. (1998). The development of depression in children and adolescents. American Psychologist, 53, 221–241.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Compas, B. E. (1987). Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 393–403.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Compas, B. E., Connor-Smith, J. K., Saltzman, H., Thomsen, A. H., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2001). Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence: problems, progress, and potential in theory and research. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 87–127.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Coyne, J. C., & Downey, G. (1991). Social factors and psychopathology: stress, social support, and coping processes. Annual Review of Psychology, 42, 401–425.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Crossfield, A. G., Alloy, L. B., Gibb, B. E., & Abramson, L. Y. (2002). The development of depressogenic cognitive styles: the role of negative childhood life events and parental inferential feedback. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 16, 487–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Curran, P. J., & Willoughby, M. T. (2003). Implications of latent trajectory models for the study of developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 581–612.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Dahl, R. E., & Gunnar, M. R. (2009). Heightened stress responsiveness and emotional reactivity during pubertal maturation: implications for psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 1–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Dienstbier, R. A. (1989). Arousal and physiological toughness: implications for mental and physical health. Psychological Review, 96, 84–100.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Edge, M. D., Ramel, W., Drabant, E. M., Kuo, J. R., Parker, K. J., & Gross, J. J. (2009). For better or worse? Stress inoculation effects for implicit but not explicit anxiety. Depression and Anxiety, 26, 831–837.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Ellis, B. J., & Boyce, W. T. (2008). Biological sensitivity to context. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 183–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Espejo, E. P., Hammen, C., Connolly, N. P., Brennan, P. A., Najman, J. M., & Bor, W. (2006). Stress sensitization and adolescent depressive severity as a function of childhood adversity: a link to anxiety disorders. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 287–299.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Fisher, H. L., Cohen-Woods, S., Hosang, G. M., Korszun, A., Owen, M., Craddock, N., & Uher, R. (2013). Interaction between specific forms of childhood maltreatment and the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) in recurrent depressive disorder. Journal of Affective Disorder, 145, 136–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ge, X., Lorenz, F. O., Conger, R. D., Elder, G. H., & Simons, R. L. (1994). Trajectories of stressful life events and depressive symptoms during adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 30, 467–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gibb, B. E. (2002). Childhood maltreatment and negative cognitive styles: a quantitative and qualitative review. Clinical Psychology Review, 22, 223–246.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Gibb, B. E., Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., Rose, D. T., Whitehouse, W. G., Donovan, P., & Tierney, S. (2001). History of childhood maltreatment, negative cognitive styles, and episodes of depression in adulthood. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 25, 425–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grandin, L. D., Alloy, L. B., & Abramson, L. Y. (2007). Childhood stressful life events and bipolar spectrum disorders. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26, 460–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Grant, K. E., Compas, B. E., Thurm, A. E., McMahon, S. D., & Gipson, P. Y. (2004). Stressors and child and adolescent psychopathology: measurement issues and prospective effects. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 412–425.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Gunnar, M., & Quevedo, K. (2007). The neurobiology of stress and development. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 145–173.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Gunnar, M. R., Frenn, K., Wewerka, S. S., & Van Ryzin, M. J. (2009). Moderate versus severe early life stress: associations with stress reactivity and regulation in 10–12-year-old children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 34, 62–75.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Hamlat, E. J., Stange, J. P., Abramson, L. Y., & Alloy, L. B. (2014). Early pubertal timing as a vulnerability to depression symptoms: differential effects of race and sex. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42, 527–538.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Hammen, C. (2005). Stress and depression. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 293–319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Hammen, C., Henry, R., & Daley, S. E. (2000). Depression and sensitization to stressors among young women as a function of childhood adversity. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 782–787.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hankin, B. L. (2008). Stability of cognitive vulnerabilities to depression: a short-term prospective multiwave study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 324.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Hankin, B. L., & Abramson, L. Y. (2002). Measuring cognitive vulnerability to depression in adolescence: reliability, validity and gender differences. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 31, 491–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hankin, B. L., Abramson, L. Y., Moffitt, T. E., Silva, P. A., McGee, R., & Angell, K. E. (1998). Development of depression from preadolescence to young adulthood: emerging gender differences in a 10-year longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107, 128–140.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Hankin, B. L., Fraley, R. C., & Abela, J. R. Z. (2005). Daily depression and cognition about stress: evidence for a traitlike depressogenic cognitive style and the prediction of depressive symptoms in a prospective daily dairy study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 673–685.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Harkness, K. L., Bruce, A. E., & Lumley, M. N. (2006). The role of childhood abuse and neglect in the sensitization to stressful life events in adolescent depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115, 730–741.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Harkness, K. L., Stewart, J. G., & Wynne-Edwards, K. E. (2011). Cortisol reactivity to social stress in adolescents: role of depression severity and child maltreatment. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36, 173–181.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Heim, C., & Nemeroff, C. B. (2001). The role of childhood trauma in the neurobiology of mood and anxiety disorders: preclinical and clinical studies. Biological Psychiatry, 49, 1023–1039.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Heim, C., Newport, D. J., Wagner, D., Wilcox, M. M., Miller, A. H., & Nemeroff, C. B. (2002). The role of early adverse experience and adulthood stress in the prediction of neuroendocrine stress reactivity in women: a multiple regression analysis. Depression and Anxiety, 15, 117–125.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Kanner, A. D., Feldman, S. S., Weinberger, D. A., & Ford, M. E. (1987). Uplifts, hassles, and adaptational outcomes in early adolescents. Journal of Early Adolescence, 7, 371–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kendler, K. S., Kuhn, J. W., & Prescott, C. A. (2004). Childhood sexual abuse, stressful life events, and risk for major depression in women. Psychological Medicine, 34, 1475–1482.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Kessler, R. C. (1997). The effects of stressful life events on depression. Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 191–214.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Kessler, R. C., Price, R. H., & Wortman, C. B. (1985). Social factors in psychopathology: stress, social support, and coping processes. Annual Review of Psychology, 36, 531–572.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Kessler, R. C., Zhao, S., Blazer, D. G., & Swartz, M. (1997). Prevalence, correlates, and course of minor depression and major depression in the national comorbidity survey. Journal of Affective Disorders, 45, 19–30.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Klein, D. N., Dougherty, L. R., & Olino, T. M. (2005). Toward guidelines for evidence-based assessment of depression in children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 412–432.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Kovacs, M. (1985). The children’s depression inventory (CDI). Psychopharmacology Bulletin, 21, 995–998.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Larson, R., & Ham, M. (1993). Stress and “storm and stress” in early adolescence: the relationship of negative events with dysphoric affect. Developmental Psychology, 28, 130–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lyons, D. M., & Parker, K. J. (2007). Stress inoculation induced indications of resilience in monkeys. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 423–433.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Lyons, D. M., Parker, K. J., & Schatzberg, A. F. (2010). Animal models of early life stress: implications for understanding resilience. Developmental Psychobiology, 52, 616–624.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Macri, S., & Wurbel, H. (2007). Effects of variation in postnatal maternal environment on maternal behaviour and fear and stress responses in rats. Animal Behaviour, 73, 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mazure, C. M. (1998). Life stressors as risk factors in depression. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 5, 291–313.Google Scholar
  53. McLaughlin, K. A., Conron, K. J., Koenen, K. C., & Gilman, S. E. (2010a). Childhood adversity, adult stressful life events, and risk of past-year psychiatric disorder: a test of the stress sensitization hypothesis in a population-based sample of adults. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1647–1658.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. McLaughlin, K. A., Kubzansky, L. D., Dunn, E. C., Waldinger, R., Vaillant, G., & Koenen, K. C. (2010b). Childhood social environment, emotional reactivity to stress, and mood and anxiety disorders across the life course. Depression and Anxiety, 27, 1087–1094.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Meichenbaum, D. (1996). Stress inoculation training for coping with stressors. Clinical Psychologist, 49, 4–7.Google Scholar
  56. Mezulis, A. H., & Rudolph, M. E. (2012). Pathways linking temperament and depressive symptoms: a short-term prospective diary study among adolescents. Cognition and Emotion, 26, 950–960.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Monroe, S. M., & Harkness, K. L. (2005). Life stress, the “kindling” hypothesis, and the recurrence of depression: considerations from a life stress perspective. Psychological Review, 112, 417–445.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Parker, K. J., & Maestripieri, D. (2011). Identifying key features of early stressful experiences that produce stress vulnerability and resilience in primates. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 1466–1483.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Pettit, J. W., Lewinsohn, P. M., Seeley, J. R., Roberts, R. E., & Yaroslavsky, I. (2010). Developmental relations between depressive symptoms, minor hassles, and major events from adolescence through age 30 years. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 4, 811–824.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Post, R. M. (1992). Transduction of psychosocial stress into the neurobiology of recurrent affective disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 999–1010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Preacher, K. J., Curran, P. J., & Bauer, D. J. (2006). Computational tools for probing interaction effects in multiple linear regression, multilevel modeling, and latent curve analysis. Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 31, 437–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  63. Rohde, P., Lewinsohn, P. M., & Seeley, J. R. (1990). Are people changed by the experience of having an episode of depression? A further test of the scar hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 99, 264–271.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Rose, D.T. & Abramson, L.Y. (1992). Developmental predictors of depressive cognitive style: Research and therapy. In Cicchetti, Dante & Toth, Sheree L. (Eds). Developmental perspective on depression. 323–349.Google Scholar
  65. Rudolph, K. D., & Flynn, M. (2007). Childhood adversity and youth depression: influence of gender and pubertal status. Development and Psychopathology, 19, 497–521.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. Rudolph, K. D., & Hammen, C. (1999). Age and gender as determinants of stress exposure, generation, and reactions in youngsters: a transactional perspective. Child Development, 70, 660–677. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.00048.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, 316–331.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Safford, S. M., Alloy, L. B., Abramson, L. Y., & Crossfield, A. G. (2007). Negative cognitive style as a predictor of negative life events in depression-prone individuals: a test of the stress generation hypothesis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 99, 147–154.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Seery, M. D., Holman, E. A., & Silver, R. C. (2010). Whatever does not kill us: cumulative lifetime adversity, vulnerability, and resilience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6, 1025–1041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Seery, M. D., Leo, R. J., Lupien, S. P., Kondrak, C. L., & Almonte, J. L. (2013). An upside to adversity? Moderate cumulative lifetime adversity is associated with resilient responses in the face of controlled stressors. Psychological Science, 24, 1181–1189.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Shapero, B. G., Hankin, L. B., & Barrocas, A. I. (2013). Stress generation and exposure in a multi-wave study of adolescents: transactional processes and sex differences. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 32, 989–1012.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. Shapero, B. G., Black, S. K., Liu, R. T., Klugman, J., Bender, R. E., Abramson, L. Y., & Alloy, L. B. (2014). Stressful life events and depression symptoms: the effect of childhood emotional abuse on stress reactivity. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70, 209–223.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Shea, A., Walsh, C., MacMillan, H., & Steiner, M. (2005). Child maltreatment and HPA axis dysregulation: relationship to major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder in females. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 30, 162–178.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Stange, J. P., Hamilton, J. L., Abramson, L. Y., & Alloy, L. B. (2014). A vulnerability-stress examination of response styles theory in adolescence: stressors, sex differences, and symptom specificity. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 43, 813–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Stroud, C. B., Davila, J., & Moyer, A. (2008). The relationship between stress and depression in first onsets versus recurrences: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117, 206–213.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. Stroud, C. B., Davila, J., Hammen, C., & Vrshek-Schallhorn, S. (2011). Severe and nonsevere events in first onsets versus recurrences of depression: evidence for stress sensitization. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120, 142–154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Tarullo, A. R., & Gunnar, M. R. (2006). Child maltreatment and the developing HPA axis. Hormones and Behavior, 50, 632–639.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Turner, R. J., & Lloyd, D. A. (1995). Lifetime traumas and mental health: The significance of cumulative adversity. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 360–376.Google Scholar
  79. van Lang, N. D., Ferdinand, R. F., & Verhulst, F. C. (2007). Predictors of future depression in early and late adolescence. Journal of Affective Disorders, 97, 137–144.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin G. Shapero
    • 1
  • Jessica L. Hamilton
    • 1
  • Jonathan P. Stange
    • 1
  • Richard T. Liu
    • 2
  • Lyn Y. Abramson
    • 3
  • Lauren B. Alloy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Butler HospitalBrown University Alpert Medical SchoolProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations