The relationship between childhood psychological trauma and later depression

Proposal details

Title: The relationship between childhood psychological trauma and later depression
Research Area(s): Emotion and Self Regulation
Background: The current project is linked to an Honours thesis (and also relates to a component of L. William's ARC grant). It will investigate childhood trauma as a predictor of depression in adulthood, and its impact on autonomic arousal. The potential effects of sleep disturbance, neuroticism, age and gender will be controlled for.
Aims: 1. To determine if childhood trauma (assessed retrospectively by the ELS measure) is a predictor of adult depression. 2. To determine if trauma increases the risk for depression because of it enhances physiological stress responses, reflected in increased resting heart rate and startle response. 3. To show that the above relationships hold over and above the contribution from neuroticism, sleep disturbance (insomnia), gender differences and age, given that each of these variables also relate to depression and stress.
Method: Subjects: 100 non-clinical volunteers (aged 25-35 years). Measures: Demographics ELS scale (including scores for individual items) DASS Maislin Sleep questionnaire Resting heart rate Startle EMG.