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Childhood exposure to interpersonal violence is associated with greater transdiagnostic integration of psychiatric symptoms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2020

Justin D. Russell
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Madison, WI, USA
Taylor J. Keding
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Madison, WI, USA Neuroscience Training Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
Quanfa He
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
James J. Li
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
Ryan J. Herringa
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, Madison, WI, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background

Childhood exposure to interpersonal violence (IPV) may be linked to distinct manifestations of mental illness, yet the nature of this change remains poorly understood. Network analysis can provide unique insights by contrasting the interrelatedness of symptoms underlying psychopathology across exposed and non-exposed youth, with potential clinical implications for a treatment-resistant population. We anticipated marked differences in symptom associations among IPV-exposed youth, particularly in terms of ‘hub’ symptoms holding outsized influence over the network, as well as formation and influence of communities of highly interconnected symptoms.

Methods

Participants from a population-representative sample of youth (n = 4433; ages 11–18 years) completed a comprehensive structured clinical interview assessing mental health symptoms, diagnostic status, and history of violence exposure. Network analytic methods were used to model the pattern of associations between symptoms, quantify differences across diagnosed youth with (IPV+) and without (IPV–) IPV exposure, and identify transdiagnostic ‘bridge’ symptoms linking multiple disorders.

Results

Symptoms organized into six ‘disorder’ communities (e.g. Intrusive Thoughts/Sensations, Depression, Anxiety), that exhibited considerably greater interconnectivity in IPV+ youth. Five symptoms emerged in IPV+ youth as highly trafficked ‘bridges’ between symptom communities (11 in IPV– youth).

Conclusion

IPV exposure may alter mutually reinforcing symptom co-occurrence in youth, thus contributing to greater psychiatric comorbidity and treatment resistance. The presence of a condensed and unique set of bridge symptoms suggests trauma-enriched nodes which could be therapeutically targeted to improve outcomes in violence-exposed youth.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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