Abstract: Childhood Psychological Violence, Physical Punishment, and Sexual Abuse As Risk Factors for Depression in Early Adulthood (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

328P Childhood Psychological Violence, Physical Punishment, and Sexual Abuse As Risk Factors for Depression in Early Adulthood

Friday, January 18, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Viktor Burlaka, LMSW, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Na Youn Lee, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi, University, MS
Iuliia Churakova, MS, PhD Student, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Oleksii Serdiuk, PhD, Professor, Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Tetiana Nickelsen, PhD, Postdoctoral Student, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Amy Fisher, LCSW, JD, Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi, University, MS
Background and Purpose: Compared to populations in other European countries, Ukrainians have much higher rates of depression and alcoholism (Balakireva et al., 2008; Bromet et al., 2005; Webb et al., 2005). Ukrainian children had lower rates of internalizing psychopathology if their mothers utilized fewer negative parenting techniques (Burlaka et al., 2017). Albeit found elsewhere (e.g., Kessler & Magee, 1993), the relationship between childhood adverse experiences and depression later in adulthood has not been explored in Ukraine. We hypothesized that increased childhood scores on corporal punishment, emotional, and sexual maltreatment would be positively and significantly associated more symptoms of depression in early adult life.

Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected among 865 students in social work, psychology, education, medical and police programs (age M= 18.98, SD = 1.91, 66% females) from eight universities in Western, Central and Eastern Ukraine. The study was approved by the Ukrainian IRB and students signed informed consent forms. Participants answered questions about gender and age, items from the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire (APQ; Frick, 1991), Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACE; Felitti et al., 1998), and Depression Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale 10-item version (CES-D-10; Irwin, Artin, & Oxman, 1999; Radloff, 1977). Analyses were conducted using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM; Acock, 2013) in Stata/MP version 14.4 (StataCorp, 2015).

Results: The average depression score was 7.27 (SD = 5.58) with 33% of students reporting the cut-off (scores 10 or more) levels of clinical depression (Andresen et al., 1994). Fifty-eight percent of students reported being spanked as children by their parents, 28% were slapped, 40% were hit with a belt, switch, or other object when they did something wrong. Fourteen percent reported being sworn at, insulted, put down, or humiliated by a household member, 8% were hit so hard that they had marks or were injured, and 6% were touched or fondled or had to have oral, anal, or vaginal sex with an adult or person at least 5 years older during their first 18 years of life.

The model provided a good fit for the data, Χ2 (24, N = 849) = 118.33, p < 0.001, CFI = 0.973, TLI = 0.964, RMSEA = 0.048. Results suggest that higher ACE and APQ Corporal Punishment scores had direct significant effects on increased CES-D-10 depression scores (β = 1.12, z = 2.84, p < 0.01 and β = 0.25, z = 2.45, p < 0.01, respectively). Additionally, the risk for depression was higher among females (β = -0.32, z =- 2.76, p < 0.01) and older students (β = 0.11, z = 3.78, p < 0.001).

Conclusions and Implications: As expected, individuals who were exposed to greater childhood psychological violence, physical punishment, and sexual assault were more likely to develop depression symptoms in early adulthood. Especially, women and older students were more susceptible to this pattern. These results will be useful for treatment, policy and prevention programs in Ukraine and potentially in other Eastern European countries. Findings draw attention to the importance of early prevention that specifically targets childhood traumas.