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By G. Fink

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Extra resources for Encyclopedia of Stress [Vol 2]

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When lifetime experience was examined, the presence of neglect or abuse in childhood was highly related both to disorder and adult vulnerability, with one-third of women with adverse childhoods becoming depressed in a 12-month study period. A similar model is emerging for children, whereby family conflict and low selfesteem increase a child’s susceptibility to disorder on encountering severe stressors. Stress can also have negative biological impacts, for example on stress hormones. Thus, abnormal cortisol patterns are associated with stressors and with a range of psychological and physical illnesses.

The relationship between severe life events and the onset of major depression was confirmed largely in samples of women and among mothers, in whom higher rates of depression are typically found. A model was investigated prospectively, looking at the vulnerability characteristics of individuals who later succumbed to affective disorder when Familial Patterns of Stress 3 encountering stressors. In prospective community studies, it was possible to identify interpersonal and cognitive factors that placed an individual at higher risk of affective disorder when later experiencing a severe life event.

Studies agree that the loss of parents affects children differentially, even when objective aspects of the loss 4 Familial Patterns of Stress are assessed. Poor parenting in terms of neglect and physical abuse are more common in certain family structures, such as when a biological and step-parent are present. Sibling Stressors Siblings’ experiences have mainly been studied in the context of genetic studies to identify the sources of shared and nonshared environments to help explain the differences and similarities between siblings.

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