Of patients with clinical depression, 46% reported that they had suffered some form of childhood maltreatment.
This included sexual abuse in childhood (about 25% of patients with a depressive disorder), emotional neglect in childhood (about 46%), and more than one type of abuse (about 19%).
Persons who were maltreated in childhood:
Were 2.7 to 3.7 times more likely to develop clinical depression in adulthood, depending on the type of maltreatment
Had onset of depression earlier in life
Were twice as likely to develop chronic depression
Were twice as likely to have depression that did not respond to treatment
What type of maltreatment? Physical, sexual, and emotional maltreatment in childhood all increased the risk of depression in adulthood. However, among these three forms of maltreatment, emotional maltreatment most increased both the risk of depression during adulthood and the severity of depression. Physical maltreatment had the least effect of the three forms of maltreatment.
Having been maltreated in more than one way was even more closely associated with having clinical depression (odds ratio 3.7).