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The Long-Term Impact of Early Adversity on Late-Life Psychiatric Disorders

  • Anda GershonEmail author
  • Keith Sudheimer
  • Rabindra Tirouvanziam
  • Leanne M. Williams
  • Ruth O’Hara
Geriatric Disorders (H Lavretsky, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Geriatric Disorders

Abstract

Early adversity is a strong and enduring predictor of psychiatric disorders including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse or dependence, and posttraumatic stress disorder. However, the mechanisms of this effect are not well understood. The purpose of this review is to summarize and integrate the current research knowledge pertaining to the long-term effects of early adversity on psychiatric disorders, particularly in late life. We explore definitional considerations including key dimensions of the experience such as type, severity, and timing of adversity relative to development. We then review the potential biological and environmental mediators and moderators of the relationships between early adversity and psychiatric disorders. We conclude with clinical implications, methodological challenges and suggestions for future research.

Keywords

Stress Psychological Childhood maltreatment Childhood adversity Late life Psychiatric disorders Risk factors HPA function Immune dysregulation Adult stressors Gender Genetic markers Geriatric Psychiatry 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Preparation of this report was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs Advanced Fellowship Program in War Related and Unexplained Illness awarded to A. Gershon.

Conflict of Interest

Anda Gershon declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Keith Sudheimer declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Rabindra Tirouvanziam declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Leanne M. Williams declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ruth O’Hara declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anda Gershon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keith Sudheimer
    • 1
  • Rabindra Tirouvanziam
    • 3
  • Leanne M. Williams
    • 1
  • Ruth O’Hara
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Sierra Pacific Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC)Palo Alto, Veterans Health Care SystemPalo AltoUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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