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The Effects of Adult Depression on the Recollection of Adverse Childhood Experiences

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 86 Dated: December 2018 Pages: 55-66
Date Published
December 2018
12 pages
In order to investigate the stability of scores on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) over time and whether they are influenced by symptoms of depression, this study recruited 284 participants (M age = 40.96, SD =16.05) from primary care clinics.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked to numerous negative physical and mental health outcomes across the lifespan. As such, self-report questionnaires that assess for ACEs are increasingly used in healthcare settings; however, previous research has generated some concern over the reliability of retrospective reports of childhood adversity, and it has been proposed that symptoms of depression may increase recall of negative memories. In addressing this issue, participants in the current study completed self-report measures of depression and ACEs twice, three months apart. The test-retest reliability of ACEs was very high (r = .91, p <.001). A cross-lagged panel analysis indicated that PHQ-9 scores at Time 1 were not predictive of changes in ACE scores at Time 2 (B = 0.00, p=.96). Results of this study indicate that changes in symptoms of depression do not correspond with changes in ACE scores among adults. This study provides support for the stability and reliability of ACE scores over time, regardless of depression status, and suggests that ACE measures are appropriate for use in healthcare settings. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: December 1, 2018