Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biological links found between childhood abuse and adolescent depression

Date:
April 20, 2011
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
New research reveals that a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood substantially increases the risk of depression in adolescence by altering a person's neuroendocrine response to stress.

Kate Harkness has found that a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse in childhood substantially increases the risk of depression in adolescence by altering a person's neuroendocrine response to stress.

Related Articles


Adolescents with a history of maltreatment and a mild level of depression were found to release much more of the stress hormone cortisol than is normal in response to psychological stressors such as giving a speech or solving a difficult arithmetic test.

"This kind of reaction is a problem because cortisol kills cells in areas of the brain that control memory and emotion regulation," explains Dr. Harkness, a professor in the Department of Psychology and an expert in the role of stress and trauma in adolescent depression. "Over time cortisol levels can build up and increase a person's risk for more severe endocrine impairment and more severe depression."

At severe levels of depression, Dr. Harkness' team saw that the youths with a history of maltreatment had a total blunting of the endocrine response to stress. These findings suggest that the normal operation of the stress response system can breakdown in severely depressed adolescents.

These results are important because they show that environmental stress in childhood changes the function of the brain in ways that may cause and/or maintain severe psychiatric disorders such as depression.

Dr. Harkness recently presented her findings at the International Society for Affective Disorders Conference in Toronto. The research was funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and conducted in collaboration with Queen's researcher Jeremy Stuart and Kathy Wynne-Edwards from the University of Calgary.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Biological links found between childhood abuse and adolescent depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420125506.htm>.
Queen's University. (2011, April 20). Biological links found between childhood abuse and adolescent depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420125506.htm
Queen's University. "Biological links found between childhood abuse and adolescent depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110420125506.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins