Child abuse victims have twice risk of depression
Childhood abuse doubles the risk of a life blighted by depression, a new study has found.
The research also shows that abused individuals are less likely to respond to depression treatments.
Scientists examined pooled data from 26 separate studies involving more than 23,000 participants.
The "meta-analysis" revealed that people maltreated in childhood were twice as likely as those with no history of abuse to develop multiple and long-lasting episodes of depression.
Lead investigator Dr Andrea Danese, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, said: "Identifying those at risk of multiple and long-lasting depressive episodes is crucial from a public health perspective.
"The results of our study indicate that childhood maltreatment is associated both with an increased risk of developing recurrent and persistent episodes of depression, and with an increased risk of responding poorly to treatment.
"Therefore, prevention and early therapeutic interventions targeting childhood maltreatment could prove vital in helping prevent the major health burden owing to depression.
"Knowing that individuals with a history of maltreatment won't respond as well to treatment may also be valuable for clinicians in determining patients' prognosis."
One in 10 children worldwide is exposed to maltreatment, including psychological, physical or sexual abuse or neglect.
The research is published today in the 'American Journal of Psychiatry'.