• Comparing Different Forms of Childhood Maltreatment as Risk Factors for Adult Cardiovascular Disease and Depression

      Panchanathan, Amritha; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Caldwell, Jon G. (The University of Arizona., 2017-05-23)
      Research has shown an association between childhood maltreatment and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and depression. The purpose of this study is to examine the total and unique effects of various forms of childhood maltreatment on the development of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and depression in both women and men. Data for this study will be obtained from retrospective chart review and from an already established research database at a private healthcare facility specializing in the treatment of trauma and addiction. All information will pertain to participants’ admission to the healthcare facility and will include self‐report data on childhood maltreatment and symptoms of depression, as well as retrospective chart review data regarding physiological metrics of risk for cardiovascular disease (blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes). Results from 290 patients indicated that emotional abuse and emotional neglect were the leading predictors of negative outcomes with emotional neglect being a significant predictor of adult depression even after controlling for age, gender, and marital status. Younger participants and women reported higher levels of depression. However, the gender‐specific regressions showed that younger age and emotional neglect remained significant predictors of depression, with the percent variance explained by the model being greater among men compared to women. This greater effect size among men was driven by a stronger association between younger age and depression in men than in women. Childhood emotional abuse was associated with greater risk for coronary heart disease, even after controlling for gender and marital status. Gender‐specific analyses showed that, for men, childhood physical neglect emerged as a significant predictor of coronary heart disease risk after controlling for marital status. Contrary to predictions, among women, none of the five types of childhood maltreatment emerged as a significant predictor of coronary heart disease risk. Moreover, depression was inversely associated with risk for coronary heart disease. In other words, higher levels of depression were consistently associated with lower levels of coronary heart disease risk. This was attributed to the fact that younger people reported higher levels of depression, but younger age was also associated with lower levels of coronary heart disease risk. Furthermore, the results of this study can be used to develop screening tools, based on childhood maltreatment severity and type, for depression and cardiovascular disease. To what degree are specific types of childhood abuse and neglect (i.e., emotional, physical, or sexual) risk factors for depression and cardiovascular disease and how are these risks moderated by gender? Hypotheses: 1) It is expected that higher levels of childhood neglect and abuse (all forms taken together) will be related to higher levels of depressive symptoms and greater risk for cardiovascular disease. 2) Comparing five basic forms of neglect and abuse, it is anticipated that emotional abuse will have the strongest association with elevations in depression and cardiovascular risk. 3) It is hypothesized that the relation between childhood maltreatment and cardiovascular risk will be stronger in women compared to men.