Environmental exposure to mental illness during childhood and current depressive states among college students

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Zoe Brown Megan Grabel Miguel Nunez Farrah Jacquez

Abstract

By Zoe Brown, Psychology; Megan Grabel, Psychology; Miguel Nunez, Psychology


Advisor: Farrah Jacquez


Presentation ID: PM_A15


Abstract: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are highly stressful life events that occur prior to the age of 18. One of these ACEs is living with a household member who suffers from a mental illness (ACE factor). Living with a depressed household member has been linked to a series of negative mental health outcomes (Sweeny & MacBeth, 2016). However, previous literature has overlooked the analysis of ACEs among college students. The present study aims to address how living with a family member who was mentally ill as a child impacts college students. Measures assessing ACE factor, depressive symptoms and basic demographic information were collected using REDCap. A hierarchical regression was used to access the association of the ACE factor and depressive symptoms over and above gender. Gender was entered in Step 1 accounting for 4.2% of the variance. On Step 2, ACE factor was entered accounting for an additional 9.2% of the variance, F change (1, 151) = 16.80, p < 0.01. The total model accounted for 13.8% of the variance, F(2, 153) = 12.08, p < 0.01. On the final model ACE factor (b = -0.31, p < 0.01) and gender (b = 0.18, p < 0.01). The results suggest that college students who as a child lived with a household member with a mental illness are more likely to have depressive symptoms regardless of gender. This highlights the importance of interventions for college age students with a history of adversity.

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PM Poster Session -- Great Hall -- A: Social Justice & Social Well-Being