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Tracing the origins of midlife despair: association of psychopathology during adolescence with a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Brennan, GM; Moffitt, TE; Ambler, A; Harrington, H; Hogan, S; Houts, RM; Mani, R; Poulton, R; Ramrakha, S; Caspi, A
Published in: Psychological medicine
December 2023

Midlife adults are experiencing a crisis of deaths of despair (i.e. deaths from suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol-related liver disease). We tested the hypothesis that a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife is preceded by psychopathology during adolescence.Participants are members of a representative cohort of 1037 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972-73 and followed to age 45 years, with 94% retention. Adolescent mental disorders were assessed in three diagnostic assessments at ages 11, 13, and 15 years. Indicators of despair-related maladies across four domains - suicidality, substance misuse, sleep problems, and pain - were assessed at age 45 using multi-modal measures including self-report, informant-report, and national register data.We identified and validated a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife involving suicidality, substance misuse, sleep problems, and pain. Adults who exhibited a more severe syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife tended to have had early-onset emotional and behavioral disorders [β = 0.23, 95% CI (0.16-0.30), p < 0.001], even after adjusting for sex, childhood SES, and childhood IQ. A more pronounced midlife despair syndrome was observed among adults who, as adolescents, were diagnosed with a greater number of mental disorders [β = 0.26, 95% CI (0.19-0.33), p < 0.001]. Tests of diagnostic specificity revealed that associations generalized across different adolescent mental disorders.Midlife adults who exhibited a more severe syndrome of despair-related maladies tended to have had psychopathology as adolescents. Prevention and treatment of adolescent psychopathology may mitigate despair-related maladies at midlife and ultimately reduce deaths of despair.

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Published In

Psychological medicine

DOI

EISSN

1469-8978

ISSN

0033-2917

Publication Date

December 2023

Volume

53

Issue

16

Start / End Page

7569 / 7580

Related Subject Headings

  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Sleep Wake Disorders
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychiatry
  • Pain
  • Middle Aged
  • Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Child
  • Adult
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
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Brennan, G. M., Moffitt, T. E., Ambler, A., Harrington, H., Hogan, S., Houts, R. M., … Caspi, A. (2023). Tracing the origins of midlife despair: association of psychopathology during adolescence with a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife. Psychological Medicine, 53(16), 7569–7580. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0033291723001320
Brennan, Grace M., Terrie E. Moffitt, Antony Ambler, HonaLee Harrington, Sean Hogan, Renate M. Houts, Ramakrishnan Mani, Richie Poulton, Sandhya Ramrakha, and Avshalom Caspi. “Tracing the origins of midlife despair: association of psychopathology during adolescence with a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife.Psychological Medicine 53, no. 16 (December 2023): 7569–80. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0033291723001320.
Brennan GM, Moffitt TE, Ambler A, Harrington H, Hogan S, Houts RM, et al. Tracing the origins of midlife despair: association of psychopathology during adolescence with a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife. Psychological medicine. 2023 Dec;53(16):7569–80.
Brennan, Grace M., et al. “Tracing the origins of midlife despair: association of psychopathology during adolescence with a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife.Psychological Medicine, vol. 53, no. 16, Dec. 2023, pp. 7569–80. Epmc, doi:10.1017/s0033291723001320.
Brennan GM, Moffitt TE, Ambler A, Harrington H, Hogan S, Houts RM, Mani R, Poulton R, Ramrakha S, Caspi A. Tracing the origins of midlife despair: association of psychopathology during adolescence with a syndrome of despair-related maladies at midlife. Psychological medicine. 2023 Dec;53(16):7569–7580.
Journal cover image

Published In

Psychological medicine

DOI

EISSN

1469-8978

ISSN

0033-2917

Publication Date

December 2023

Volume

53

Issue

16

Start / End Page

7569 / 7580

Related Subject Headings

  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Sleep Wake Disorders
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychiatry
  • Pain
  • Middle Aged
  • Mental Disorders
  • Humans
  • Child
  • Adult