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Adverse childhood experiences in relation to mood and anxiety disorders in a population-based sample of active military personnel

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2012

J. Sareen
Affiliation:
Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
C. A. Henriksen
Affiliation:
Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
S.-L. Bolton
Affiliation:
Departments of Community Health Sciences and Psychiatry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
T. O. Afifi
Affiliation:
Departments of Community Health Sciences, Psychiatry, and Family Social Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
M. B. Stein
Affiliation:
Departments of Psychiatry and Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego and VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA
G. J. G. Asmundson
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology and Anxiety and Illness Behaviours Laboratory, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background

Although it has been posited that exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) increases vulnerability to deployment stress, previous literature in this area has demonstrated conflicting results. Using a cross-sectional population-based sample of active military personnel, the present study examined the relationship between ACEs, deployment related stressors and mood and anxiety disorders.

Method

Data were analyzed from the 2002 Canadian Community Health Survey – Canadian Forces Supplement (CCHS-CFS; n = 8340, age 18–54 years, response rate 81%). The following ACEs were self-reported retrospectively: childhood physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, economic deprivation, exposure to domestic violence, parental divorce/separation, parental substance abuse problems, hospitalization as a child, and apprehension by a child protection service. DSM-IV mood and anxiety disorders [major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic attacks/disorder and social phobia] were assessed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).

Results

Even after adjusting for the effects of deployment-related traumatic exposures (DRTEs), exposure to ACEs was significantly associated with past-year mood or anxiety disorder among men [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.34, 99% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–1.73, p < 0.01] and women [aOR 1.37, 99% CI 1.00–1.89, p = 0.01]. Participants exposed to both ACEs and DRTEs had the highest prevalence of past-year mood or anxiety disorder in comparison to those who were exposed to either ACEs alone, DRTEs alone, or no exposure.

Conclusions

ACEs are associated with several mood and anxiety disorders among active military personnel. Intervention strategies to prevent mental health problems should consider the utility of targeting soldiers with exposure to ACEs.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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