Differential associations between patterns of child maltreatment and comorbidity in adult depressed patients

Jeannette Brodbeck, Eva Fassbinder, Ulrich Schweiger, Antje Fehr, Christina Späth, Jan Philipp Klein*

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Types of maltreatment often co-occur and it is unclear how maltreatment patterns impact on comorbidity in depressed patients. Methods: We analysed associations of maltreatment patterns with a broad range of comorbidities assessed with diagnostic interviews in 311 treatment-seeking depressed outpatients. Results: Latent class analyses identified a “no maltreatment class” (39%), a “mild to moderate abuse and neglect class” (34%), a “severe abuse and neglect class” (14%) and a “severe neglect class” (13%). We found a dose-response association for the first three classes with comorbid disorders, a general psychopathology factor and an interpersonal insecurity factor. Patients in the “severe abuse and neglect” class had increased odds ratios (OR) of suffering from an anxiety disorder (OR 3.58), PTSD (OR 7.09), Borderline personality disorder (OR 7.97) and suicidality (OR 10.04) compared to those without child maltreatment. Patients in the “severe neglect” class did not have a higher risk for comorbidity than those in the “no maltreatment” class. Limitations: Class sizes in the “severe abuse and neglect” and the “severe neglect” classes were small and findings should be replicated with other clinical and population samples. Conclusions: A higher severity rather than the constellation of types of child abuse and neglect was associated with more comorbid disorders. An exception were patients reporting solely severe emotional and physical neglect who had a similar risk for comorbidity as patients without a history of child maltreatment. This may be associated with distinct learning experiences and may inform treatment decisions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Pages (from-to)34-41
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2018

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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