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The association between childhood trauma, parental bonding and depressive symptoms and interpersonal functioning in depression and bipolar disorder

  • M. Marshall (a1), C. Shannon (a1) (a2), C. Meenagh (a2), N. Mc Corry (a1) and C. Mulholland (a2) (a3)...



This study explores rates of a history of childhood trauma in adult patients with bipolar disorder and depression and the impact of such trauma and parental bonding patterns on depressive mood and interpersonal functioning at the time of assessment.


A cross-sectional design was used and a sample of 49 participants was recruited from a mental health outpatient service in Northern Ireland. Data were subject to correlations, one-way analysis of variance and hierarchal regression analyses. A cut-off point of r=±0.25 was used to select variables for inclusion in the hierarchal regression analyses.


High rates of childhood trauma were present in both samples: 74% in bipolar disorder and 82% in depression. Childhood trauma and poor parental bonding (with mother) were significant predictors of higher rates of current inter-episode depressive mood and interpersonal difficulties.


This finding adds to the evidence that routine assessment of early childhood experience is likely to prove helpful in clinical care.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr C. Mulholland, Centre for Medical Education, The Queen’s University Belfast, The Whitla Medical Building, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT9 7BL, UK.(Email:


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The association between childhood trauma, parental bonding and depressive symptoms and interpersonal functioning in depression and bipolar disorder

  • M. Marshall (a1), C. Shannon (a1) (a2), C. Meenagh (a2), N. Mc Corry (a1) and C. Mulholland (a2) (a3)...


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