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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2013

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

childhood family adversity, pubertal timing, depression, developmental, clinical

Abstract

To date, no prior research has examined the combined roles of childhood family adversity and pubertal timing in longitudinal pathways to depressive symptomatology in adulthood. The present study was conducted with 225 men and 225 women to explore the unique and combined roles of childhood family adversity and pubertal timing on depressive symptoms in a community sample of married adults. Results for both men and women indicated significant main effects of a cumulatively risky family environment on depressive symptoms, as well as main effects of families with higher levels of abuse and neglect, chaos and disorganization, and interpersonal family conflict. A significant moderating relation was found for women with earlier pubertal timing and higher levels of childhood interpersonal family conflict on greater levels of depressive symptoms in adulthood. No other significant relations were determined in other moderation and mediational analyses. This project furthers our understanding of how the combined roles of pubertal timing and childhood family experiences can clarify the developmental, evolutionary, and clinical theories that link childhood and adolescent experiences to depression in adulthood. Specifically, childhood home environments defined by frequent interpersonal conflict (quarreling, arguing, and shouting), combined with early pubertal development, may play an important role in predicating depressive symptomatology among adult women.

First Advisor

Sally I Powers

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