Putting adversity in perspective: purpose in life moderates the link between childhood emotional abuse and neglect and adulthood depressive symptoms

Hartanto, Andree, Yong, Jose C., Lee, Sean T. H., Ng, Wee Qin, and Tong, Eddie M. W. (2020) Putting adversity in perspective: purpose in life moderates the link between childhood emotional abuse and neglect and adulthood depressive symptoms. Journal of Mental Health, 29 (4). pp. 473-482.

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Abstract

Background: Childhood emotional abuse and neglect is linked with a host of adverse outcomes later in life, including depression. However, potential psychological resources that may mitigate the adverse outcomes of childhood emotional abuse and neglect are not well-understood.

Aims: Drawing from the insight that having a sense of purpose can help individuals deal with setbacks and difficulties better, we propose that purpose in life can also help sufferers of childhood maltreatment cope more effectively and reduce the onset of depressive symptoms.

Methods: Participants were drawn from two large, nationally representative studies comprising a total of 3664 respondents. Purpose in life, childhood emotional abuse and neglect, and depressive symptoms were measured with validated scales.

Results: We found convergent evidence that purpose in life attenuates the effect of childhood emotional abuse and neglect on subsequent depressive symptoms across a range of measures of mood and depression.

Conclusions: The current study highlights the important role played by purpose in life in building resilience, coping against adverse life events, and psychological well-being.

Item ID: 63724
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1360-0567
Keywords: Purpose in life, childhood emotional abuse, childhood emotional neglect, depression, psychological well-being
Copyright Information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Funders: National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Projects and Grants: NIA P01-AG020166, NIA 5R37AG027343
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2020 03:05
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 50%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 100%
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