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Although childhood adversity is a strong determinant of psychopathology, it remains unclear whether there are ‘sensitive periods’ when a first episode of adversity is most harmful.
To examine whether variation in the developmental timing of a first episode of interpersonal violence (up to age 18) associates with risk for psychopathology.
Using cross-sectional data, we examined the association between age at first exposure to four types of interpersonal violence (physical abuse by parents, physical abuse by others, rape, and sexual assault/molestation) and onset of four classes of DSM-IV disorders (distress, fear, behaviour, substance use) (n=9984). Age at exposure was defined as: early childhood (ages 0–5), middle childhood (ages 6–10) and adolescence (ages 11–18).
Exposure to interpersonal violence at any age period about doubled the risk of a psychiatric disorder (odds ratios (ORs) = 1.51–2.52). However, few differences in risk were observed based on the timing of first exposure. After conducting 20 tests of association, only three significant differences in risk were observed based on the timing of exposure; these results suggested an elevated risk of behaviour disorder among youth first exposed to any type of interpersonal violence during adolescence (OR = 2.37, 95% CI 1.69–3.34), especially being beaten by another person (OR = 2.44; 95% CI 1.57–3.79), and an elevated risk of substance use disorder among youth beaten by someone during adolescence (OR=2.77, 95% CI 1.94–3.96).
Children exposed to interpersonal violence had an elevated risk of psychiatric disorder. However, age at first episode of exposure was largely unassociated with psychopathology risk.
There is inconsistent evidence regarding the influence of general
cognitive abilities on the long-term course of depression.
To investigate the association between general childhood cognitive
abilities and adult depression outcomes.
We conducted a cohort study using data from 633 participants in the New
England Family Study with lifetime depression. Cognitive abilities at age
7 were measured using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
Depression outcomes were assessed using structured diagnostic interviews
administered up to four times in adulthood between ages 17 and 49.
In analyses adjusting for demographic factors and parental psychiatric
illness, low general cognitive ability (i.e. IQ<85 v.
IQ>115) was associated with recurrent depressive episodes (odds ratio
(OR) = 2.19, 95% CI 1.20–4.00), longer episode duration (rate ratio 4.21,
95% CI 2.24–7.94), admission to hospital for depression (OR = 3.65, 95%
CI 1.34–9.93) and suicide ideation (OR = 3.79, 95% CI 1.79–8.02) and
attempt (OR = 4.94, 95% CI 1.67–14.55).
Variation in cognitive abilities, predominantly within the normal range
and established early in childhood, may confer long-term vulnerability
for prolonged and severe depression. The mechanisms underlying this
vulnerability need to be established to improve the prognosis of
depression among individuals with lower cognitive abilities.
Mass media exposure has been associated with an increased risk of eating pathology. It is unknown whether indirect media exposure – such as the proliferation of media exposure in an individual's social network – is also associated with eating disorders.
To test hypotheses that both individual (direct) and social network (indirect) mass media exposures were associated with eating pathology in Fiji.
We assessed several kinds of mass media exposure, media influence, cultural orientation and eating pathology by self-report among adolescent female ethnic Fijians (n = 523). We fitted a series of multiple regression models of eating pathology, assessed by the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE–Q), in which mass media exposures, sociodemographic characteristics and body mass index were entered as predictors.
Both direct and indirect mass media exposures were associated with eating pathology in unadjusted analyses, whereas in adjusted analyses only social network media exposure was associated with eating pathology. This result was similar when eating pathology was operationalised as either a continuous or a categorical dependent variable (e.g. odds ratio OR = 1.60, 95% CI 1.15–2.23 relating social network media exposure to upper-quartile EDE–Q scores). Subsequent analyses pointed to individual media influence as an important explanatory variable in this association.
Social network media exposure was associated with eating pathology in this Fijian study sample, independent of direct media exposure and other cultural exposures. Findings warrant further investigation of its health impact in other populations.
There are no published studies evaluating the impact of introduction of television on disordered eating in media-naïve populations.
To assess the impact of novel, prolonged exposure to television on disordered eating attitudes and behaviours among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls.
A prospective, multi-wave cross-sectional design was used to compare two samples of Fijian schoolgirls before and after prolonged regional television exposure with a modified 26-item eating attitudes test, supplemented with a semi-structured interview to confirm self-reported symptoms. Narrative data from a subset of respondents from the exposed sample were analysed for content relating television exposure to body image concerns.
Key indicators of disordered eating were significantly more prevalent following exposure. Narrative data revealed subjects' interest in weight loss as a means of modelling themselves after television characters.
This naturalistic experiment suggests a negative impact of television upon disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in a media-naïve population.
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