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Ghosts from the past? The association between childhood interpersonal trauma, attachment and anxiety and depression in late life

Van Assche, L; Van de Ven, L; Vandenbulcke, M; Luyten, PJ; (2019) Ghosts from the past? The association between childhood interpersonal trauma, attachment and anxiety and depression in late life. Aging and Mental Health 10.1080/13607863.2019.1571017. (In press).

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Abstract

Objectives: Research suggests that vulnerability for anxiety and depression in late life results from a complex interaction between (neuro)biological and environmental factors. In this context, there is growing evidence for the role of childhood trauma on vulnerability for both anxiety and depression throughout the course of life, mainly through its effects on attachment as a biologically based neurodevelopmental stress regulation system. Yet, the impact of childhood trauma on depression and anxiety in late life specifically remains unclear. The current study therefore aims to investigate the association between retrospectively reported childhood interpersonal trauma, attachment dimensions and levels of anxiety and depression in late life. / Method: A sample of 81 community dwelling older adults completed measures of early and current adversity, attachment dimensions, and levels of anxiety and depression. / Results: The occurrence and frequency of childhood trauma, but not later negative adult life events, was associated with late life anxiety and depression. Both attachment anxiety and avoidance were related to anxiety and depression. Only attachment anxiety affected the association between childhood trauma, and emotional neglect in particular, and late life anxiety and depression. / Conclusion: Childhood trauma may be associated with anxiety and depression in late life. Part of this association is probably indirect, via the effect of insecure attachment and high levels of attachment anxiety in particular.

Type: Article
Title: Ghosts from the past? The association between childhood interpersonal trauma, attachment and anxiety and depression in late life
DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2019.1571017
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1571017
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Aging, Trauma, Attachment, Anxiety, Depression
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065928
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