Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Disentangling the impact of childhood abuse and neglect on depressive affect in adulthood: A machine learning approach in a general population sample




List of Authors: Betz Linda T, Rosen Marlene, Salokangas Raimo KR, Kambeitz Joseph

Publisher: ELSEVIER

Publication year: 2022

Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders

Journal name in source: JOURNAL OF AFFECTIVE DISORDERS

Journal acronym: J AFFECT DISORDERS

Volume number: 315

Number of pages: 10

ISSN: 0165-0327

eISSN: 1573-2517

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2022.07.042


Abstract

Background: Different types of childhood maltreatment (CM) are key risk factors for psychopathology. Specifically, there is evidence for a unique role of emotional abuse in affective psychopathology in children and youth; however, its predictive power for depressive symptomatology in adulthood is still unknown. Additionally, emotional abuse encompasses several facets, but the strength of their individual contribution to depressive affect has not been examined.

Method: Here, we used a machine learning (ML) approach based on Random Forests to assess the performance of domain scores and individual items from the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) in predicting self-reported levels of depressive affect in an adult general population sample. Models were generated in a training sample (N = 769) and validated in an independent test sample (N = 466). Using state-of-the-art methods from interpretable ML, we identified the most predictive domains and facets of CM for adult depressive affect.

Results: Models based on individual CM items explained more variance in the independent test sample than models based on CM domain scores (R2 = 7.6 % vs. 6.4 %). Emotional abuse, particularly its more subjective components such as reactions to and appraisal of the abuse, emerged as the strongest predictors of adult depressive affect. Limitations: Assessment of CM was retrospective and lacked information on timing and duration. Moreover, re-ported rates of CM and depressive affect were comparatively low.

Conclusions: Our findings corroborate the strong role of subjective experience in CM-related psychopathology across the lifespan that necessitates greater attention in research, policy, and clinical practice.


Last updated on 2022-05-10 at 14:54