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The Continuity of Adversity: Negative Emotionality Links Early Life Adversity With Adult Stressful Life Events

Publication ,  Journal Article
Brennan, GM; Moffitt, TE; Bourassa, KJ; Harrington, HL; Hogan, S; Houts, RM; Poulton, R; Ramrakha, S; Caspi, A
Published in: Clinical Psychological Science
January 1, 2024

Adversity that exhibits continuity across the life course has long-term detrimental effects on physical and mental health. Using 920 participants from the Dunedin Study, we tested the following hypotheses: (a) Children (ages 3–15) who experienced adversity would also tend to experience adversity in adulthood (ages 32–45), and (2) interim personality traits in young adulthood (ages 18–26) would help account for this longitudinal association. Children who experienced more adversity tended to also experience more stressful life events as adults, β = 0.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.04, 0.18], p =.002. Negative emotionality—particularly its subfacet alienation, characterized by mistrust of others—helped explain this childhood-to-midlife association (indirect effect: β = 0.06, 95% CI = [0.04, 0.09], p <.001). Results were robust to adjustment for sex, socioeconomic origins, childhood IQ, preschool temperament, and other young-adult personality traits. Prevention of early life adversity and treatment of young-adult negative emotionality may reduce vulnerability to later life stress and thereby promote the health of aging adults.

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Published In

Clinical Psychological Science

DOI

EISSN

2167-7034

ISSN

2167-7026

Publication Date

January 1, 2024

Related Subject Headings

  • 5205 Social and personality psychology
  • 5203 Clinical and health psychology
  • 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
  • 1701 Psychology
 

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Brennan, G. M., Moffitt, T. E., Bourassa, K. J., Harrington, H. L., Hogan, S., Houts, R. M., … Caspi, A. (2024). The Continuity of Adversity: Negative Emotionality Links Early Life Adversity With Adult Stressful Life Events. Clinical Psychological Science. https://doi.org/10.1177/21677026231220337
Brennan, G. M., T. E. Moffitt, K. J. Bourassa, H. L. Harrington, S. Hogan, R. M. Houts, R. Poulton, S. Ramrakha, and A. Caspi. “The Continuity of Adversity: Negative Emotionality Links Early Life Adversity With Adult Stressful Life Events.” Clinical Psychological Science, January 1, 2024. https://doi.org/10.1177/21677026231220337.
Brennan GM, Moffitt TE, Bourassa KJ, Harrington HL, Hogan S, Houts RM, et al. The Continuity of Adversity: Negative Emotionality Links Early Life Adversity With Adult Stressful Life Events. Clinical Psychological Science. 2024 Jan 1;
Brennan, G. M., et al. “The Continuity of Adversity: Negative Emotionality Links Early Life Adversity With Adult Stressful Life Events.” Clinical Psychological Science, Jan. 2024. Scopus, doi:10.1177/21677026231220337.
Brennan GM, Moffitt TE, Bourassa KJ, Harrington HL, Hogan S, Houts RM, Poulton R, Ramrakha S, Caspi A. The Continuity of Adversity: Negative Emotionality Links Early Life Adversity With Adult Stressful Life Events. Clinical Psychological Science. 2024 Jan 1;
Journal cover image

Published In

Clinical Psychological Science

DOI

EISSN

2167-7034

ISSN

2167-7026

Publication Date

January 1, 2024

Related Subject Headings

  • 5205 Social and personality psychology
  • 5203 Clinical and health psychology
  • 5201 Applied and developmental psychology
  • 1701 Psychology