The Dunedin Study - DMHDRU

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Pervasively Thinner Neocortex as a Transdiagnostic Feature of General Psychopathology | 2020
Adrienne L. Romer, Maxwell L. Elliott, Annchen R. Knodt, Maria L. Sison, David Ireland, ... Show all » Renate Houts, Sandhya Ramrakha, Richie Poulton, Ross Keenan, Tracy R. Melzer, Terrie E. Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi, Ahmad R. Hariri « Hide
Am J Psychiatry, 2020, .
https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.19090934
Link to full publication »
Our ref: RO737
Show abstract » Objective:
Neuroimaging research has revealed that structural brain alterations are common across broad diagnostic families of disorders rather than specific to a single psychiatric disorder. Such overlap in the structural brain correlates of mental disorders mirrors already well-documented phenotypic comorbidity of psychiatric symptoms and diagnoses, which can be indexed by a general psychopathology or p factor. The authors hypothesized that if general psychopathology drives the convergence of structural alterations common across disorders, then 1) there should be few associations unique to any one diagnostic family of disorders, and 2) associations with the p factor should overlap with those for the broader diagnostic families.

Methods:
Analyses were conducted on structural MRI and psychopathology data collected from 861 members of the population-representative Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at age 45.

Results:
Study members with high scores across three broad diagnostic families of disorders (externalizing, internalizing, thought disorder) exhibited highly overlapping patterns of reduced global and widely distributed parcel-wise neocortical thickness. Study members with high p factor scores exhibited patterns of reduced global and parcel-wise neocortical thickness nearly identical to those associated with the three broad diagnostic families.

Conclusions:
A pattern of pervasively reduced neocortical thickness appears to be common across all forms of mental disorders and may represent a transdiagnostic feature of general psychopathology. As has been documented with regard to symptoms and diagnoses, the underlying brain structural correlates of mental disorders may not exhibit specificity, and the continued pursuit of such specific correlates may limit progress toward more effective strategies for etiological understanding, prevention, and intervention.

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Longitudinal Assessment of Mental Health Disorders and Comorbidities Across 4 Decades Among Participants in the Dunedin Birth Cohort Study | 2020
Caspi, Avshalom, Houts, Renate M., Ambler, ... Show all » Antony, Danese, Andrea, Elliott, Maxwell, L. Hariri, Ahmad, Harrington, HonaLee, Hogan, Sean, Poulton, Richie, Ramrakha, Sandhya, Rasmussen, Line J. Hartmann, Reuben, Aaron, Richmond-Rakerd, Leah, Sugden, Karen, Wertz, Jasmin, Williams, Benjamin S., Moffitt, Terrie E. « Hide
JAMA Network Open, 2020, 3(4), e203221-e203221.
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Our ref: RO735
Show abstract » Mental health professionals typically encounter patients at 1 point in patients’ lives. This cross-sectional window understandably fosters focus on the current presenting diagnosis. Research programs, treatment protocols, specialist clinics, and specialist journals are oriented to presenting diagnoses, on the assumption that diagnosis informs about causes and prognosis. This study tests an alternative hypothesis: people with mental disorders experience many different kinds of disorders across diagnostic families, when followed for 4 decades.To describe mental disorder life histories across the first half of the life course.This cohort study involved participants born in New Zealand from 1972 to 1973 who were enrolled in the population-representative Dunedin Study. Participants were observed from birth to age 45 years (until April 2019). Data were analyzed from May 2019 to January 2020.Diagnosed impairing disorders were assessed 9 times from ages 11 to 45 years. Brain function was assessed through neurocognitive examinations conducted at age 3 years, neuropsychological testing during childhood and adulthood, and midlife neuroimaging-based brain age.Of 1037 original participants (535 male [51.6%]), 1013 had mental health data available. The proportions of participants meeting the criteria for a mental disorder were as follows: 35% (346 of 975) at ages 11 to 15 years, 50% (473 of 941) at age 18 years, 51% (489 of 961) at age 21 years, 48% (472 of 977) at age 26 years, 46% (444 of 969) at age 32 years, 45% (429 of 955) at age 38 years, and 44% (407 of 927) at age 45 years. The onset of the disorder occurred by adolescence for 59% of participants (600 of 1013), eventually affecting 86% of the cohort (869 of 1013) by midlife. By age 45 years, 85% of participants (737 of 869) with a disorder had accumulated comorbid diagnoses. Participants with adolescent-onset disorders subsequently presented with disorders at more past-year assessments (r = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.74; P < .001) and met the criteria for more diverse disorders (r = 0.64; 95% CI, 0.60 to 0.67; P < .001). Confirmatory factor analysis summarizing mental disorder life histories across 4 decades identified a general factor of psychopathology, the p-factor. Longitudinal analyses showed that high p-factor scores (indicating extensive mental disorder life histories) were antedated by poor neurocognitive functioning at age 3 years (r = −0.18; 95% CI, −0.24 to −0.12; P < .001), were accompanied by childhood-to-adulthood cognitive decline (r = −0.11; 95% CI, −0.17 to −0.04; P < .001), and were associated with older brain age at midlife (r = 0.14; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.20; P < .001).These findings suggest that mental disorder life histories shift among different successive disorders. Data from the present study, alongside nationwide data from Danish health registers, inform a life-course perspective on mental disorders. This perspective cautions against overreliance on diagnosis-specific research and clinical protocols.
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Association of Childhood Lead Exposure With Adult Personality Traits and Lifelong Mental Health | 2019
Reuben, Aaron Schaefer, Jonathan Moffitt, Terrie Broadbent, Jonathan Harrington, ... Show all » Honalee Houts, Renate Ramrakha, Sandhya Poulton, Richie Caspi, Avshalom « Hide
JAMA Psychiatry, 2019, 76(4), 418-425.
10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4192
download pdf Our ref: RO714
Show abstract » Importance: Millions of adults now entering middle age were exposed to high levels of lead, a developmental neurotoxin, as children. Although childhood lead exposure has been linked to disrupted behavioral development, the long-term consequences for adult mental and behavioral health have not been fully characterized. Objective: To examine whether childhood lead exposure is associated with greater psychopathology across the life course and difficult adult personality traits. Design, setting, and participants: This prospective cohort study was based on a population-representative birth cohort of individuals born between April 1, 1972, and March 31, 1973, in Dunedin, New Zealand, the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. Members were followed up in December 2012 when they were 38 years of age. Data analysis was performed from March 14, 2018, to October 24, 2018. Exposures: Childhood lead exposure ascertained as blood lead levels measured at 11 years of age. Blood lead levels were unrelated to family socioeconomic status. Main outcomes and measures: Primary outcomes were adult mental health disorder symptoms assessed through clinical interview at 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 years of age and transformed through confirmatory factor analysis into continuous measures of general psychopathology and internalizing, externalizing, and thought disorder symptoms (all standardized to a mean [SD] of 100 [15]) and adult personality assessed through informant report using the Big Five Personality Inventory (assessing neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness) at 26, 32, and 38 years of age (all scores standardized to a mean [SD] of 0 [1]). Hypotheses were formulated after data collection; an analysis plan was posted in advance. Results: Of 1037 original study members, 579 (55.8%) were tested for lead exposure at 11 years of age (311 [53.7%] male). The mean (SD) blood lead level was 11.08 (4.96) μg/dL. After adjusting for study covariates, each 5-μg/dL increase in childhood blood lead level was associated with a 1.34-point increase (95% CI, 0.11-2.57; P = .03) in general psychopathology, driven by internalizing (b = 1.41; 95% CI, 0.19-2.62; P = .02) and thought disorder (b = 1.30; 95% CI, 0.06-2.54; P = .04) symptoms. Each 5-μg/dL increase in childhood blood lead level was also associated with a 0.10-SD increase in neuroticism (95% CI, 0.02-0.08; P = .02), a 0.09-SD decrease in agreeableness (95% CI, -0.18 to -0.01; P = .03), and a 0.14-SD decrease in conscientiousness (95% CI, -0.25 to -0.03; P = .01). There were no statistically significant associations with informant-rated extraversion (b = -0.09; 95% CI, -0.17 to 0.004; P = .06) and openness to experience (b = -0.07; 95% CI, -0.17 to 0.03; P = .15). Conclusions and relevance: In this multidecade, longitudinal study of lead-exposed children, higher childhood blood lead level was associated with greater psychopathology across the life course and difficult adult personality traits. Childhood lead exposure may have long-term consequences for adult mental health and personality
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Genetics and Crime: Integrating New Genomic Discoveries Into Psychological Research About Antisocial Behavior | 2018
Wertz, J. Caspi, A. Belsky, D. W. Beckley, A. L. Arseneault, ... Show all » L. Barnes, J. C. Corcoran, D. L. Hogan, S. Houts, R. Morgan, N. Odgers, C. L. Prinz, Joseph A. Sugden, K. Williams, B.S. Poulton, R. Moffitt, T. E « Hide
Psychological Science, 2018, 29(5), 791-803.
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Our ref: RO703
Show abstract » Drawing on psychological and sociological theories of crime causation, we tested the hypothesis that genetic risk for low educational attainment (assessed via a genome-wide polygenic score) is associated with criminal offending. We further tested hypotheses of how polygenic risk relates to the development of antisocial behavior from childhood through adulthood. Across the Dunedin and Environmental Risk (E-Risk) birth cohorts of individuals growing up 20 years and 20,000 kilometers apart, education polygenic scores predicted risk of a criminal record with modest effects. Polygenic risk manifested during primary schooling in lower cognitive abilities, lower self-control, academic difficulties, and truancy, and it was associated with a life-course-persistent pattern of antisocial behavior that onsets in childhood and persists into adulthood. Crime is central in the nature-nurture debate, and findings reported here demonstrate how molecular-genetic discoveries can be incorporated into established theories of antisocial behavior. They also suggest that improving school experiences might prevent genetic influences on crime from unfolding.
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Is low cognitive functioning a predictor or consequence of major depressive disorder? A test in two longitudinal birth cohorts | 2017
Schaefer, J. D. Scult, M. A. Caspi, A. Arseneault, L. Belsky, ... Show all » D. W. Hariri, A. R. Harrington, H. Houts, R. Ramrakha, S. Poulton, R. Moffitt, T. E. « Hide
Development and Psychopathology, 2017, 16 1-15.
https://doi.org/10.1017/S095457941700164X
download pdf Our ref: RO710
Show abstract » Cognitive impairment has been identified as an important aspect of major depressive disorder (MDD). We tested two theories regarding the association between MDD and cognitive functioning using data from longitudinal cohort studies. One theory, the cognitive reserve hypothesis, suggests that higher cognitive ability in childhood decreases risk of later MDD. The second, the scarring hypothesis, instead suggests that MDD leads to persistent cognitive deficits following disorder onset. We tested both theories in the Dunedin Study, a population-representative cohort followed from birth to midlife and assessed repeatedly for both cognitive functioning and psychopathology. We also used data from the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study to test whether childhood cognitive functioning predicts future MDD risk independent of family-wide and genetic risk using a discordant twin design. Contrary to both hypotheses, we found that childhood cognitive functioning did not predict future risk of MDD, nor did study members with a past history of MDD show evidence of greater cognitive decline unless MDD was accompanied by other comorbid psychiatric conditions. Our results thus suggest that low cognitive functioning is related to comorbidity, but is neither an antecedent nor an enduring consequence of MDD. Future research may benefit from considering cognitive deficits that occur during depressive episodes from a transdiagnostic perspective.
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Enduring mental health: Prevalence and prediction | 2017
Schaefer, J. D., Caspi, A., Belsky, ... Show all » D. W., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Horwood, L, J., Hussong, A., Ramrakha, S., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T. E. « Hide
J Abnorm Psychol, 2017, 126(2), 212-224.
DOI: 10.1037/abn0000232
download pdf Our ref: RO694
Show abstract » We review epidemiological evidence indicating that most people will develop a diagnosable mental disorder, suggesting that only a minority experience enduring mental health. This minority has received little empirical study, leaving the prevalence and predictors of enduring mental health unknown. We turn to the population-representative Dunedin cohort, followed from birth to midlife, to compare people never-diagnosed with mental disorder (N = 171; 17% prevalence) to those diagnosed at 1-2 study waves, the cohort mode (N = 409). Surprisingly, compared to this modal group, never-diagnosed Study members were not born into unusually well-to-do families, nor did their enduring mental health follow markedly sound physical health, or unusually high intelligence. Instead, they tended to have an advantageous temperament/personality style, and negligible family history of mental disorder. As adults, they report superior educational and occupational attainment, greater life satisfaction, and higher-quality relationships. Our findings draw attention to "enduring mental health" as a revealing psychological phenotype and suggest it deserves further study. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Lest we forget: comparing retrospective and prospective assessments of adverse childhood experiences in the prediction of adult health | 2016
Reuben, A., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, ... Show all » A., Belsky, D. W., Harrington, H., Hogan, S., Schroeder, F., Hogan, S., Ramrakha, S., Poulton, R. « Hide
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2016, 57(10), 1103-1112.
DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12621
download pdf Our ref: RO692
Show abstract » Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs; e.g. abuse, neglect, and parental loss) have been associated with increased risk for later-life disease and dysfunction using adults’ retrospective self-reports of ACEs. Research should test whether associations between ACEs and health outcomes are the same for prospective and retrospective ACE measures. Methods: We estimated agreement between ACEs prospectively recorded throughout childhood (by Study staff at Study member ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15) and retrospectively recalled in adulthood (by Study members when they reached age 38), in the population-representative Dunedin cohort (N = 1,037). We related both retrospective and prospective ACE measures to physical, mental, cognitive, and social health at midlife measured through both objective (e.g. biomarkers and neuropsychological tests) and subjective (e.g. self-reported) means. Results: Dunedin and U.S. Centers for Disease Control ACE distributions were similar. Retrospective and prospective measures of adversity showed moderate agreement (r = .47, p < .001; weighted Kappa = .31, 95% CI: .27–.35). Both associated with all midlife outcomes. As compared to prospective ACEs, retrospective ACEs showed stronger associations with life outcomes that were subjectively assessed, and weaker associations with life outcomes that were objectively assessed. Recalled ACEs and poor subjective outcomes were correlated regardless of whether prospectively recorded ACEs were evident. Individuals who recalled more ACEs than had been prospectively recorded were more neurotic than average, and individuals who recalled fewer ACEs than recorded were more agreeable. Conclusions: Prospective ACE records confirm associations between childhood adversity and negative life outcomes found previously using retrospective ACE reports. However, more agreeable and neurotic dispositions may, respectively, bias retrospective ACE measures toward underestimating the impact of adversity on objectively measured life outcomes and overestimating the impact of adversity on self-reported outcomes. Associations between personality factors and the propensity to recall adversity were extremely modest and warrant further investigation. Risk predictions based on retrospective ACE reports should utilize objective outcome measures. Where objective outcome measurements are difficult to obtain, correction factors may be warranted.
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Persistent cannabis dependence and alcohol dependence represent risks for midlife economic and social problems: A longitudinal cohort study | 2016
Cerda, M., Moffitt, T.E., Meier, ... Show all » M.H., /Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Ramrakha, S., Hogan, S., Poulton, R., Caspi, A. « Hide
Clinical Psychological Science, 2016, Published online before print 22 March 2016, DOI: 10.1177/2167702616630958.
DOI: 10.1177/2167702616630958
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Our ref: RO685
Show abstract » With the increasing legalization of cannabis, understanding the consequences of cannabis use is particularly timely. We examined the association between cannabis use and dependence, prospectively assessed between ages 18 and 38, and economic and social problems at age 38. We studied participants in the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, a cohort (N = 1,037) followed from birth to age 38. Study members with regular cannabis use and persistent dependence experienced downward socioeconomic mobility, more financial difficulties, workplace problems, and relationship conflict in early midlife. Cannabis dependence was not linked to traffic-related convictions. Associations were not explained by socioeconomic adversity, childhood psychopathology, achievement orientation, or family structure; cannabis-related criminal convictions; early onset of cannabis dependence; or comorbid substance dependence. Cannabis dependence was associated with more financial difficulties than was alcohol dependence; no difference was found in risks for other economic or social problems. Cannabis dependence is not associated with fewer harmful economic and social problems than alcohol dependence.
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Adult-onset offenders: Is a tailored theory warranted? | 2016
Beckley, A.L., Caspi, A., Harrington, ... Show all » H. L., Houts, R., McGee, T.R., Morgan, N., Schroeder, F., Ramrakha, S., Poulton, R. , Moffitt, T. E. « Hide
Journal of Criminal Justice, 2016, 46 64-81.
doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2016.03.001
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Our ref: RO681
Show abstract » Purpose: To describe official adult-onset offenders, investigate their antisocial histories and test hypotheses about their origins. Methods: We defined adult-onset offenders among 931 Dunedin Study members followed to age 38, using criminal-court conviction records. Results: Official adult-onset offenders were 14% of men, and 32% of convicted men, but accounted for only 15% of convictions. As anticipated by developmental theories emphasizing early-life influences on crime, adult-onset offenders' histories of antisocial behavior spanned back to childhood. Relative to juvenile-offenders, during adolescence they had fewer delinquent peers and were more socially inhibited, which may have protected them from conviction. As anticipated by theories emphasizing the importance of situational influences on offending, adult-onset offenders, relative to non-offenders, during adulthood more often had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and alcohol-dependence, had weaker social bonds, anticipated fewer informal sanctions, and self-reported more offenses. Contrary to some expectations, adult-onset offenders did not have high IQ or high socioeconomic-status families protecting them from juvenile conviction. Conclusions: A tailored theory for adult-onset offenders is unwarranted because few people begin crime de novo as adults. Official adult-onset offenders fall on a continuum of crime and its correlates, between official non-offenders and official juvenile-onset offenders. Existing theories can accommodate adult-onset offenders.
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Is insomnia associated with deficits in neuropsychological functioning? Evidence from a population-based study | 2015
Goldman-Mellor, S., Caspi, A., Gregory, ... Show all » A. M., Harrington, H. L., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Sleep, 2015, 38(4), 623-631.
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Our ref: RO671
Show abstract » Study Objectives: People with insomnia complain of cognitive deficits in daily life. Results from empirical studies examining associations between insomnia and cognitive impairment, however, are mixed. Research is needed that compares treatment-seeking and community-based insomnia study samples, measures subjective as well as objective cognitive functioning, and considers participants' pre-insomnia cognitive function. Design and Participants: We used data from the Dunedin Study, a representative birth cohort of 1,037 individuals, to examine whether insomnia in early midlife was associated with subjective and objective cognitive functioning. We also tested whether individuals with insomnia who reported seeking treatment for their sleep problems (treatment-seekers) showed greater impairment than other individuals with insomnia (non-treatment-seekers). The role of key confounders, including childhood cognitive ability and comorbid health conditions, was evaluated. Measurements: Insomnia was diagnosed at age 38 according to DSM-IV criteria. Objective neuropsychological assessments at age 38 included the WAIS-IV IQ test, the Wechsler Memory Scale, and the Trail-Making Test. Childhood cognitive functioning was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R). Results: A total of 949 cohort members were assessed for insomnia symptoms and other study measures at age 38. Although cohort members with insomnia (n = 186, 19.6%) had greater subjective cognitive impairment than their peers at age 38, they did not exhibit greater objective impairment on formal testing. Treatment-seekers, however, exhibited significant objective impairment compared to non-treatment-seekers. Controlling for comorbidity, daytime impairment, and medications slightly decreased this association. Childhood cognitive deficits antedated the adult cognitive deficits of treatment-seekers.
Conclusions: Links between insomnia and cognitive impairment may be strongest among individuals who seek clinical treatment. Clinicians should take into account the presence of complex health problems and lower premorbid cognitive function when planning treatment for insomnia patients.

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Cumulative mental health consequences of acne: 23-year follow-up in a general population birth cohort study | 2015
Ramrakha, S., Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, ... Show all » L.J., Dalgard, F., Ambler, A., Kokaua, J., Milne, B.J., Poulton, R. « Hide
British Journal of Dermatology, 2015, doi:10.1111/bjd.13786.
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Our ref: RO670
Show abstract » Acne is a highly prevalent condition during adolescence and young adulthood worldwide. School and university samples indicate rates between 12% and 99%, depending on how acne was classified. General population surveys report rates between 14% and 88%.Acne remains a problem in adulthood with rates ranging from 20 to 54%. The effects of acne, regardless of severity, can be debilitating. Studies have shown a range of psychosocial and interpersonal impacts including feelings of shame and loneliness, anger, impaired self-image, attitude and esteem, lack of pride and body satisfaction. It can also affect interpersonal relationships including poor attachment to friends, and not having romantic or sexual relationships. Finally, it has been associated with impaired functioning in other life domains, for example, not thriving at school, decreased participation in sport and exercise and employment problems. Although acne has been associated with negative emotion, impaired ability to function in daily life and a decreased quality of life only a small number of cross-sectional studies have reported an association between acne and specific psychological problems, including symptoms of anxiety and depression and suicide ideation when compared to those with little or no acne. However, no study has examined the relationship of acne and with psychiatric disorder (i.e. psychological distress of greatest severity and clinical interest), nor has research ascertained the cumulative lifecourse effects of acne on psychiatric disorder. In the present study, prospective-longitudinal data from a general population sample was used to determine whether acne preceded poor mental health at the disorder level from adolescence to adulthood. The specific aim of this study was to examine the association between acne and the development of the most common psychiatric disorders of anxiety, depression, alcohol and cannabis dependence.
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Early-life intelligence predicts midlife biological age | 2015
Schaefer, J., Caspi, A., Belsky, ... Show all » D.W., Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Israel, S., Levine, M., Sugden, K., Williams, B.S., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 2015, First published online May 26, 2015, doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbv035.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbv035
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Our ref: RO668
Show abstract » Objectives. Early-life intelligence has been shown to predict multiple causes of death in populations around the world. This finding suggests that intelligence might influence mortality through its effects on a general process of physiological deterioration (i.e., individual variation in 'biological age'). We examined whether intelligence could predict measures of aging at midlife before the onset of most age-related disease. Methods. We tested whether intelligence assessed in early childhood, middle childhood, and midlife predicted midlife biological age in members of the Dunedin Study, a population-representative birth cohort. Results. Lower intelligence predicted more advanced biological age at midlife as captured by perceived facial age, a 10-biomarker algorithm based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and Framingham heart age (r = 0.1–0.2). Correlations between intelligence and telomere length were less consistent. The associations between intelligence and biological age were not explained by differences in childhood health or parental socioeconomic status, and intelligence remained a significant predictor of biological age even when intelligence was assessed before Study members began their formal schooling. Discussion. These results suggest that accelerated aging may serve as one of the factors linking low early-life intelligence to increased rates of morbidity and mortality.
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Is adult ADHD a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder? Evidence from a four-decade longitudinal cohort study. | 2015
Moffitt, T.E., Houts, R., Asherson, ... Show all » P., Belsky, D.W., Corcoran, D.L., Hammerle, M., Harrington, H. L., Hogan, S., Meier, M.H., Polanczyk, G., Poulton, R., Ramrakha, S., Sugden, K., Williams, B.S., Rohde, L.A., Caspi, A. « Hide
American Journal of Psychiatry, 2015, .
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Our ref: RO667
Show abstract » Objective: Despite a prevailing assumption that adult ADHD is a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder, no prospective longitudinal study has described the childhoods of the adult ADHD population. The authors report follow-back analyses of ADHD cases diagnosed in adulthood, alongside follow-forward analyses of ADHD cases diagnosed in childhood, in one cohort. Method: Participants belonged to a representative birth cohort of 1,037 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972 and 1973 and followed to age 38, with 95% retention. Symptoms of ADHD, associated clinical features, comorbid disorders, neuropsychological deficits, genome-wide association study-derived polygenic risk, and life impairment indicators were assessed. Data sources were participants, parents, teachers, informants, neuropsychological test results, and administrative records. Adult ADHD diagnoses used DSM-5 criteria, apart from onset age and cross-setting corroboration, which were study outcome measures. Results: As expected, childhood ADHD had a prevalence of 6% (predominantly male) and was associated with childhood comorbid disorders, neurocognitive deficits, polygenic risk, and residual adult life impairment. Also as expected, adult ADHD had a prevalence of 3% (gender balanced) and was associated with adult substance dependence, adult life impairment, and treatment contact. Unexpectedly, the childhood ADHD and adult ADHD groups comprised virtually nonoverlapping sets; 90% of adult ADHD cases lacked a history of childhood ADHD. Also unexpectedly, the adult ADHD group did not show tested neuropsychological deficits in childhood or adulthood, nor did they show polygenic risk for childhood ADHD.
Conclusions: The findings raise the possibility that adults presenting with the ADHD symptom picture may not have a childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder. If this finding is replicated, then the disorder’s place in the classification system must be reconsidered, and research must investigate the etiology of adult ADHD.

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Cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive function at midlife: Neuroprotection or Neuroselection? | 2015
Belsky, D.W., Caspi, A., Israel, ... Show all » S., Blumenthal, J.A., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Annals of Neurology, 2015, 77(4), 607-617.
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Our ref: RO666
Show abstract » Objective: A study was undertaken to determine whether better cognitive functioning at midlife among more physically fit individuals reflects neuroprotection, by which fitness protects against age-related cognitive decline, or neuroselection, by which children with higher cognitive functioning select more active lifestyles. Methods: Children in the Dunedin Longitudinal Study (N?=?1,037) completed the Wechsler Intelligence Scales and the Trail Making, Rey Delayed Recall, and Grooved Pegboard tasks as children and again at midlife (age?=?38 years). Adult cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed using a submaximal exercise test to estimate maximum oxygen consumption adjusted for body weight in milliliters/minute/kilogram. We tested whether more fit individuals had better cognitive functioning than their less fit counterparts (which could be consistent with neuroprotection), and whether better childhood cognitive functioning predisposed to better adult cardiorespiratory fitness (neuroselection). Finally, we examined possible mechanisms of neuroselection. Results: Participants with better cardiorespiratory fitness had higher cognitive test scores at midlife. However, fitness-associated advantages in cognitive functioning were already present in childhood. After accounting for childhood baseline performance on the same cognitive tests, there was no association between cardiorespiratory fitness and midlife cognitive functioning. Socioeconomic and health advantages in childhood and healthier lifestyles during young adulthood explained most of the association between childhood cognitive functioning and adult cardiorespiratory fitness. Interpretation: We found no evidence for a neuroprotective effect of cardiorespiratory fitness as of midlife. Instead, children with better cognitive functioning are selecting healthier lives. Fitness interventions may enhance cognitive functioning. However, observational and experimental studies testing neuroprotective effects of physical fitness should consider confounding by neuroselection.
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The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study: Overview of the first 40 years, with an eye to the future | 2015
Poulton, R. , Moffitt, T.E., Silva, ... Show all » P.A. « Hide
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology , 2015, 50(5), 679-693.
DOI 10.1007/s00127-015-1048-8
download pdf Our ref: RO664
Show abstract » The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study began more than four decades ago. Unusual at the time, it was founded as a multidisciplinary research enterprise, and was strongly supported by the Dunedin community, both professional and lay, in its early years. Seven research themes have evolved over the last 40 years focusing on: mental and neuro-cognition, cardiovascular risk, respiratory health, oral health, sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial functioning. A seventh, more applied theme, seeks to maximise the value of the Study findings for New Zealand’s indigenous people Mâori (or tangata whenua transl people of the land). The Study has published over 1200 papers and reports to date, with almost 2/3 of these being in peer reviewed journals. Here we provide an overview of the study, its history, leadership structure, scientific approach, operational foci, and some recent examples of work that illustrates: (i) the value of multidisciplinary data; (ii) how the Study is well positioned to addresses contemporary issues; and (iii) how research can simultaneously address multiple audiences - from researchers and theoreticians to policy makers and practitioners. Near future research plans are described, and we end by reflecting upon the core aspects of the Study that portend future useful contributions.
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Inconsistency in Reporting Abstention and Heavy Drinking Frequency: Associations with Sex and Socioeconomic Status, and Potential Impacts | 2015
Kydd, R.M., Connor, J.
Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2015, 50(3), 333-345.
doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agu106
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Our ref: RO663
Show abstract » Aims: To describe inconsistencies in reporting past-year drinking status and heavy drinking occasions (HDOs) on single questions from two different instruments, and to identify associated characteristics and impacts. Methods: We compared computer-presented Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test-Consumption (AUDIT-C) with categorical response options, and mental health interview (MHI) with open-ended consumption questions, completed on the same day. Participants were 464 men and 459 women aged 38 (91.7% of surviving birth cohort members). Differences in dichotomous single-item measures of abstention and HDO frequency, associations of inconsistent reporting with sex, socioeconomic status (SES) and survey order, and impacts of instrument choice on associations of alcohol with sex and SES were examined. Results: The AUDIT-C drinking frequency question estimated higher past-year abstention prevalence (AUDIT = 7.6%, MHI = 5.4%), with one-third of AUDIT-C abstainers being MHI drinkers. Only AUDIT-C produced significant sex differences in abstainer prevalence. Inconsistencies in HDO classifications were bidirectional, but with fewer HDOs reported on the MHI than AUDIT-C question. Lower SES was associated with inconsistency in abstention and weekly+ HDOs. Abstention and higher HDO frequency were associated with lower SES overall, but sex-specific associations differed by instrument. Conclusions: In this context, data collection method affected findings, with inconsistencies in abstention reports having most impact. Future studies should: (a) confirm self-reported abstention; (b) consider piloting data collection methods in target populations; (c) expect impacts of sex and SES on measurements and analyses.
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Mental health antecedents of early midlife insomnia: Evidence from a four-decade longitudinal study | 2014
Goldman-Mellor, S., Gregory, A. M., Caspi, ... Show all » A., Harrington, H. L., Parsons, M.J., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Sleep, 2014, 37(11), 1767-1775.
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Our ref: RO660
Show abstract » Study objectives. Insomnia is a highly prevalent condition that constitutes a major public health and economic burden. However, little is known about the developmental etiology of adulthood insomnia. Design. We examined whether indicators of psychological vulnerability across multiple developmental periods (psychiatric diagnoses in young adulthood and adolescence, childhood behavioral problems, and familial psychiatric history) predicted subsequent insomnia in adulthood. Setting and participants. We used data from the ongoing Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a population-representative birth cohort study of 1,037 children in New Zealand who were followed prospectively from birth (19721973) through their fourth decade of life with a 95% retention rate. Measurements. Insomnia was diagnosed at age 38 according to DSM-IV criteria. Psychiatric diagnoses, behavioral problems, and family psychiatric histories were assessed between ages 5 and 38. Results. In cross-sectional analyses, insomnia was highly comorbid with multiple psychiatric disorders. After controlling for this concurrent comorbidity, our results showed that individuals who have family histories of depression or anxiety, and who manifest lifelong depression and anxiety beginning in childhood, are at uniquely high risk of age-38 insomnia. Other disorders did not predict adulthood insomnia. Conclusions. The link between lifelong depression and anxiety symptoms and adulthood insomnia calls for further studies to clarify the neurophysiological systems or behavioral conditioning processes that may underlie this association.
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Credit Scores, Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Human Capital | 2014
Israel, S., Caspi, A., Belsky, ... Show all » D.W., Harrington, H. L., Hogan, S., Houts, R., Ramrakha, S., Sanders, S., Poulton, R. , Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
PNAS, 2014, Available Early Edition online DOI: 10.1073.
doi/10.1073/pnas.1409794111
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Our ref: RO659
Show abstract » Credit scores are the most widely used instruments to assess whether or not a person is a financial risk. Credit scoring has been so successful that it has expanded beyond lending and into our everyday lives, even to inform how insurers evaluate our health. The pervasive application of credit scoring has outpaced knowledge about why credit scores are such useful indicators of individual behavior. Here we test if the same factors that lead to poor credit scores also lead to poor health. Following the Dunedin (New Zealand) Longitudinal Study cohort of 1,037 study members, we examined the association between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and the underlying factors that account for this association. We find that credit scores are negatively correlated with cardiovascular disease risk. Variation in household income was not sufficient to account for this association. Rather, individual differences in human capital factors educational attainment, cognitive ability, and self-control predicted both credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk and accounted for ~45% of the correlation between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk. Tracing human capital factors back to their childhood antecedents revealed that the characteristic attitudes, behaviors, and competencies children develop in their first decade of life account for a significant portion (~22%) of the link between credit scores and cardiovascular disease risk at midlife. We discuss the implications of these findings for policy debates about data privacy, financial literacy, and early childhood interventions.
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Childhood maltreatment, juvenile disorders and adult post-traumatic stress disorder: A prospective investigation | 2014
Breslau, N., Koenen, K., Swanson, ... Show all » S., Agnew-Blais, M.A., Houts, R., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Psychological Medicine, 2014, 44(9), 1937–1945.
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Our ref: RO654
Show abstract » Background We examine prospectively the influence of two separate but potentially inter-related factors in the etiology of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): childhood maltreatment as conferring a susceptibility to the PTSD response to adult trauma and juvenile disorders as precursors of adult PTSD. Method The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS) is a birth cohort (n = 1037) from the general population of New Zealand's South Island, with multiple assessments up to age 38 years. DSM-IV PTSD was assessed among participants exposed to trauma at ages 26–38. Complete data were available on 928 participants. Results Severe maltreatment in the first decade of life, experienced by 8.5% of the sample, was associated significantly with the risk of PTSD among those exposed to adult trauma [odds ratio (OR) 2.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16–6.01], compared to no maltreatment. Moderate maltreatment, experienced by 27.2%, was not associated significantly with that risk (OR 1.55, 95% CI 0.85–2.85). However, the two estimates did not differ significantly from one another. Juvenile disorders (ages 11–15), experienced by 35% of the sample, independent of childhood maltreatment, were associated significantly with the risk of PTSD response to adult trauma (OR 2.35, 95% CI 1.32–4.18). Conclusions Severe maltreatment is associated with risk of PTSD response to adult trauma, compared to no maltreatment, and juvenile disorders, independent of earlier maltreatment, are associated with that risk. The role of moderate maltreatment remains unresolved. Larger longitudinal studies are needed to assess the impact of moderate maltreatment, experienced by the majority of adult trauma victims with a history of maltreatment.
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Internalizing disorders and leukocyte telomere erosion: a prospective study of depression, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder | 2014
Shalev, I., Moffitt, T.E., Braithwaite, ... Show all » A.W. , Danese, A., Fleming, N.I., Goldman-Mellor, S., Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Israel, S., Poulton, R., Robertson, S. P. , Sugden, K., Williams, B.S., Caspi, A. « Hide
Molecular Psychiatry, 2014, 19(11), 1163-1170.
10.1038/mp.2013.183
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Our ref: RO648
Show abstract » There is evidence that persistent psychiatric disorders lead to age-related disease and premature mortality. Telomere length has emerged as a promising biomarker in studies that test the hypothesis that internalizing psychiatric disorders are associated with accumulating cellular damage. We tested the association between the persistence of internalizing disorders (depression, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder) and leukocyte telomere length (LTL) in the prospective longitudinal Dunedin Study (n = 1037). Analyses showed that the persistence of internalizing disorders across repeated assessments from ages 11 to 38 years predicted shorter LTL at age 38 years in a doseresponse manner, specifically in men (' = - 0.137, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.232, -0.042, P = 0.005). This association was not accounted for by alternative explanatory factors, including childhood maltreatment, tobacco smoking, substance dependence, psychiatric medication use, poor physical health or low socioeconomic status. Additional analyses using DNA from blood collected at two time points (ages 26 and 38 years) showed that LTL erosion was accelerated among men who were diagnosed with internalizing disorder in the interim (' = - 0.111, 95% CI: -0.184, -0.037, P = 0.003). No significant associations were found among women in any analysis, highlighting potential sex differences in internalizing-related telomere biology. These findings point to a potential mechanism linking internalizing disorders to accelerated biological aging in the first half of the life course, particularly in men. Because internalizing disorders are treatable, the findings suggest the hypothesis that treating psychiatric disorders in the first half of the life course may reduce the population burden of age-related disease and extend health expectancy.
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Suicide attempt in young people: A signal for long-term healthcare and social needs | 2014
Goldman-Mellor, S., Caspi, A., Harrington, ... Show all » H. L., Hogan, S., Nada-Raja, S., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
JAMA Psychiatry, 2014, 71(2), 119-127.
10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.2803
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Our ref: RO647
Show abstract » Importance Suicidal behavior has increased since the onset of the global recession, a trend that may have long-term health and social implications. Objective To test whether suicide attempts among young people signal increased risk for later poor health and social functioning above and beyond a preexisting psychiatric disorder. Design We followed up a cohort of young people and assessed multiple aspects of their health and social functioning as they approached midlife. Outcomes among individuals who had self-reported a suicide attempt up through age 24 years (young suicide attempters) were compared with those who reported no attempt through age 24 years (nonattempters). Psychiatric history and social class were controlled for. Setting and Participants The population-representative Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which involved 1037 birth cohort members comprising 91 young suicide attempters and 946 nonattempters, 95% of whom were followed up to age 38 years. Main Outcomes and Measures Outcomes were selected to represent significant individual and societal costs: mental health, physical health, harm toward others, and need for support. Results As adults approaching midlife, young suicide attempters were significantly more likely to have persistent mental health problems (eg, depression, substance dependence, and additional suicide attempts) compared with nonattempters. They were also more likely to have physical health problems (eg, metabolic syndrome and elevated inflammation). They engaged in more violence (eg, violent crime and intimate partner abuse) and needed more social support (eg, long-term welfare receipt and unemployment). Furthermore, they reported being lonelier and less satisfied with their lives. These associations remained after adjustment for youth psychiatric diagnoses and social class. Conclusions and Relevance Many young suicide attempters remain vulnerable to costly health and social problems into midlife. As rates of suicidal behavior rise with the continuing global recession, additional suicide prevention efforts and long-term monitoring and after-care services are needed.
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Lifelong Impact of Early Self-Control | 2013
Terrie E. Moffitt, Richie Poulton, and Avshalom Caspi
American Scientist, 2013, 101 352-359.
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Our ref: PJ39
Show abstract » The Dunedin Study is a longitudinal research effort that has followed more than 1,000 people from birth over four decades, collecting information on their physical health and social wellbeing. Over the past 38 years, the participants have been physically and psychologically examined 12 times, at birth and then at ages 3, 5, 7,9,11,13,15,18,21,26,32, and 38.
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Tobacco Smoking in Adolescence Predicts Maladaptive Coping Styles in Adulthood | 2013
McGee, Rob, Williams, Sheila, Nada-Raja, ... Show all » Shyamala, Olsson, Craig A. « Hide
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2013, 15(12), 1971-1977.
10.1093/ntr/ntt081
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Our ref: RO649.2
Show abstract » Introduction: To examine the extent to which cigarette smoking in adolescence is associated with maladaptive versus adaptive coping behaviors in adulthood.Method: The data came from a longitudinal study of New Zealand adolescents followed into adulthood at age 32 years. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), we examined the predictive association between daily smoking of cigarettes and symptoms of tobacco dependence from 18 to 26 years of age and later coping at age 32 years. We included pathways from childhood family disadvantage in addition to both adolescent stress-worry and adult coping in the model.Results: SEM revealed that cigarette smoking had a small but direct inverse effect on later adaptive coping (-.14) and a direct effect on maladaptive coping (.23) independent of the relationships between adolescent coping and stress-worry and later adult coping.Conclusions: The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that tobacco smoking may inhibit the development of self-efficacy or one’s ability to act with appropriate coping behaviors in any given situation.
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Is Obesity Associated With a Decline in Intelligence Quotient During the First Half of the Life Course? | 2013
Belsky, D.W., Caspi, A., Goldman-Mellor, ... Show all » S., Meier, M.H., Ramrakha, S., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
American Journal of Epidemiology, 2013, First published online 12 September 2013, doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt135.
10.1093/aje/kwt135
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Our ref: RO645
Show abstract » Cross-sectional studies have found that obesity is associated with low intellectual ability and neuroimaging abnormalities in adolescence and adulthood. Some have interpreted these associations to suggest that obesity causes intellectual decline in the first half of the life course. We analyzed data from a prospective longitudinal study to test whether becoming obese was associated with intellectual decline from childhood to midlife. We used data from the ongoing Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a population-representative birth cohort study of 1,037 children in New Zealand who were followed prospectively from birth (1972'1973) through their fourth decade of life with a 95% retention rate. Intelligence quotient (IQ) was measured in childhood and adulthood. Anthropometric measurements were taken at birth and at 12 subsequent in-person assessments. As expected, cohort members who became obese had lower adulthood IQ scores. However, obese cohort members exhibited no excess decline in IQ. Instead, these cohort members had lower IQ scores since childhood. This pattern remained consistent when we accounted for children's birth weights and growth during the first years of life, as well as for childhood-onset obesity. Lower IQ scores among children who later developed obesity were present as early as 3 years of age. We observed no evidence that obesity contributed to a decline in IQ, even among obese individuals who displayed evidence of the metabolic syndrome and/or elevated systemic inflammation.
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Microvascular Abnormality in Schizophrenia as Shown by Retinal Imaging | 2013
Meier, M.H., Shalev, I., Moffitt, ... Show all » T.E., Kapur, S., Keefe, R., Wong, T.Y., Belsky, D.W., Harrington, H. L., Hogan, S., Houts, R., Caspi, A., Poulton, R. « Hide
American Journal of Psychiatry, 2013, 170(170), 1451-1459.
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Our ref: RO644
Show abstract » Objective Retinal and cerebral microvessels are structurally and functionally homologous, but unlike cerebral microvessels, retinal microvessels can be noninvasively measured in vivo by retinal imaging. The authors tested the hypothesis that individuals with schizophrenia exhibit microvascular abnormality and evaluated the utility of retinal imaging as a tool for schizophrenia research. Method Participants were members of the Dunedin Study, a population-representative cohort followed from birth with 95% retention. Study members underwent retinal imaging at age 38. The authors assessed retinal arteriolar and venular caliber for all members of the cohort, including individuals who developed schizophrenia. Results Study members who developed schizophrenia were distinguished by wider retinal venules, suggesting microvascular abnormality reflective of insufficient brain oxygen supply. Analyses that controlled for confounding health conditions suggested that wider retinal venules are not simply an artifact of co-occurring health problems in schizophrenia patients. Wider venules were also associated with a dimensional measure of adult psychosis symptoms and with psychosis symptoms reported in childhood. Conclusions The findings provide initial support for the hypothesis that individuals with schizophrenia show microvascular abnormality. Moreover, the results suggest that the same vascular mechanisms underlie subthreshold symptoms and clinical disorder and that these associations may begin early in life. These findings highlight the promise of retinal imaging as a tool for understanding the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
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Diagnostic transitions from childhood to adolescence to early adulthood | 2013
Copeland, W.E., Adair, C.E., Smetanin, ... Show all » P., Stiff, D., Briante, C., Colman, I., Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J., Poulton, R., Costello, J., Angold, A. « Hide
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2013, 54(54), 791-799.
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Our ref: RO642
Show abstract » Background: Quantifying diagnostic transitions across development is needed to estimate the long-term burden of mental illness. This study estimated patterns of diagnostic transitions from childhood to adolescence and from adolescence to early adulthood. Methods: Patterns of diagnostic transitions were estimated using data from three prospective, longitudinal studies involving close to 20,000 observations of 3,722 participants followed across multiple developmental periods covering ages 9'30. Common DSM psychiatric disorders were assessed in childhood (ages 9'12; two samples), adolescence (ages 13'18; three samples), and early adulthood (ages 19 to age 32; three samples) with structured psychiatric interviews and questionnaires. Results: Having a disorder at an early period was associated with at least a threefold increase in odds for having a disorder at a later period. Homotypic and heterotypic transitions were observed for every disorder category. The strongest evidence of continuity was seen for behavioral disorders (particularly ADHD) with less evidence for emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety. Limited evidence was found in adjusted models for behavioral disorders predicting later emotional disorders. Adult substance disorders were preceded by behavioral disorders, but not anxiety or depression. Conclusions: Having a disorder in childhood or adolescence is a potent risk factor for a range of psychiatric problems later in development. These findings provide further support for prevention and early life intervention efforts and suggest that treatment at younger ages, while justified in its own right, may also have potential to reduce the risk for disorders later in development.
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The p Factor: One general psychopathology factor in the structure of psychiatric disorders? | 2013
Caspi, A., Houts, R., Belsky, ... Show all » D.W., Goldman-Mellor, S., Harrington, H. L., Israel, S., Meier, M.H., Ramrakha, S., Shalev, I., Poulton, R., Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Clinical Psychological Science, 2013, DOI: 10.1177/2167702613497473 .
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Our ref: RO641
Show abstract » Mental disorders traditionally have been viewed as distinct, episodic, and categorical conditions. This view has been challenged by evidence that many disorders are sequentially comorbid, recurrent/chronic, and exist on a continuum. Using the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, we examined the structure of psychopathology, taking into account dimensionality, persistence, co-occurrence, and sequential comorbidity of mental disorders across 20 years, from adolescence to midlife. Psychiatric disorders were initially explained by three higher-order factors (Internalizing, Externalizing, and Thought Disorder) but explained even better with one General Psychopathology dimension. We have called this dimension the p factor because it conceptually parallels a familiar dimension in psychological science: the g factor of general intelligence. Higher p scores are associated with more life impairment, greater familiality, worse developmental histories, and more compromised early-life brain function. The p factor explains why it is challenging to find causes, consequences, biomarkers, and treatments with specificity to individual mental disorders. Transdiagnostic approaches may improve research.
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Prospective developmental subtypes of alcohol dependence from age 18 to 32 years: Implications for nosology, etiology, and intervention | 2013
Meier, M.H., Caspi, A., Houts, ... Show all » R., Slutske, W., Harrington, H. L., Jackson, K.M., Belsky, D.W., Poulton, R. , Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Development and Psychopathology, 2013, 25(25), 785-800.
10.1017/S0954579413000175
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Our ref: RO638
Show abstract » The purpose of the present study was to identify child and adult correlates that differentiate (a) individuals with persistent alcohol dependence from individuals with developmentally-limited alcohol dependence and (b) individuals with adult-onset alcohol dependence from individuals who never diagnose. Participants are 1,037 members of the Dunedin longitudinal study, a birth cohort followed prospectively from birth until age 32. Past-year DSM-IV alcohol dependence diagnoses were ascertained with structured diagnostic interviews at ages 18, 21, 26, and 32. Individuals were classified as developmentally-limited, persistent, or adult-onset subtypes based on their time-ordered pattern of diagnoses. The persistent subtype generally exhibited the worst scores on all correlates, including family psychiatric history, adolescent and adult externalizing and internalizing problems, adolescent and adult substance use, adult quality of life, and coping strategies. The prospective predictors that distinguished them from the developmentally-limited subtype involved family liability, adolescent negative affectivity, daily alcohol use, and frequent marijuana use. Furthermore, young people who developed the persistent subtype of alcohol dependence were distinguished from the developmentally-limited subtype by an inability to reduce drinking and by continued use despite problems, already by age 18. The adult-onset group members were virtually indistinguishable from ordinary cohort members as children or adolescents, but, in adulthood, adult-onset cases were distinguished by problems with depression, substance use, stress, and strategies for coping with stress. Information about age-of-onset and developmental course is fundamental for identifying subtypes of alcohol dependence. Subtype-specific etiologies point to targeted prevention and intervention efforts based on characteristics of each subtype.
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Retinal vessel caliber and lifelong neuropsychological functioning: Retinal imaging as an investigative tool for cognitive epidemiology | 2013
Shalev, I., Moffitt, T.E., Wong, ... Show all » T.Y., Meier, M.H., Houts, R., Ding, J., Cheung, C.Y.L., Ikram, M.K., Caspi, A., Poulton, R. « Hide
Psychological Science, 2013, 24(24), 1198-1207.
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Our ref: RO637
Show abstract » Why do more intelligent people live healthier and longer lives? One possibility is that intelligence tests assess health of the brain, but psychological science has lacked technology to evaluate this hypothesis. Digital retinal imaging, a new, noninvasive method to visualize microcirculation in the eye, may reflect vascular conditions in the brain. We studied the association between retinal vessel caliber and neuropsychological functioning in the representative Dunedin birth cohort. Wider venular caliber was associated with poorer neuropsychological functioning at midlife, independently of potentially confounding factors. This association was not limited to any specific test domain and extended to informants' reports of cohort members' cognitive difficulties in everyday life. Moreover, wider venular caliber was associated with lower childhood IQ tested 25 years earlier. The findings indicate that retinal venular caliber may be an indicator of neuropsychological health years before the onset of dementing diseases and suggest that digital retinal imaging may be a useful investigative tool for psychological science.
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Childhood and adolescent television viewing and antisocial behavior in early adulthood | 2013
Robertson, L.A., McAnally, H.M., Hancox, ... Show all » R. J. « Hide
Pediatrics, 2013, 131(131), 439-446.
10.1542/peds.2012-1582
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Our ref: RO633
Show abstract » OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether excessive television viewing throughout childhood and adolescence is associated with increased antisocial behavior in early adulthood. METHODS: We assessed a birth cohort of 1037 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972'1773, at regular intervals from birth to age 26 years. We used regression analysis to investigate the associations between television viewing hours from ages 5 to 15 years and criminal convictions, violent convictions, diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, and aggressive personality traits in early adulthood. RESULTS: Young adults who had spent more time watching television during childhood and adolescence were significantly more likely to have a criminal conviction, a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, and more aggressive personality traits compared with those who viewed less television. The associations were statistically significant after controlling for sex IQ, socioeconomic status, previous antisocial behavior, and parental control. The associations were similar for both sexes, indicating that the relationship between television viewing and antisocial behavior is similar for male and female viewers. CONCLUSIONS: Excessive television viewing in childhood and adolescence is associated with increased antisocial behavior in early adulthood. The findings are consistent with a causal association and support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children should watch no more than 1 to 2 hours of television each day.
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The relationship between multiple sex partners and anxiety, depression, and substance dependence disorders: a cohort study | 2013
Ramrakha, S., Paul, C. , Bell, ... Show all » M.L., Dickson, N. , Moffitt, T.E., Caspi, A. « Hide
Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 2013, 42(42), 863-872.
DOI: 10.1007/s10508-012-0053-1
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Our ref: RO632
Show abstract » Changes in sexual behavior have resulted in longer periods of multiple serial or concurrent relationships. This study investigated the effects of multiple heterosexual partners on mental health, specifically, whether higher numbers of partners were linked to later anxiety, depression, and substance dependency. Data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, a prospective, longitudinal study of a birth cohort born in 1972'1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand were used. The relationship between numbers of sex partners over three age periods (18'20, 21'25, and 26'32 years) and diagnoses of anxiety, depression, and substance dependence disorder at 21, 26, and 32 years were examined, using logistic regression. Interaction by gender was examined. Adjustment was made for prior mental health status. There was no significant association between number of sex partners and later anxiety and depression. Increasing numbers of sex partners were associated with increasing risk of substance dependence disorder at all three ages. The association was stronger for women and remained after adjusting for prior disorder. For women reporting 2.5 or more partners per year, compared to 0'1 partners, the adjusted odd ratios (and 95 % CIs) were 9.6 (4.4'20.9), 7.3 (2.5'21.3), and 17.5 (3.5'88.1) at 21, 26, and 32 years, respectively. Analyses using new cases of these disorders showed similar patterns. This study established a strong association between number of sex partners and later substance disorder, especially for women, which persisted beyond prior substance use and mental health problems more generally. The reasons for this association deserve investigation.
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Specificity of childhood psychotic symptoms for predicting schizophrenia by 38 years of age: a birth cohort study | 2013
Fisher, H.L., Caspi, A., Poulton, ... Show all » R. , Meier, M.H., Houts, R., Harrington, H. L., Arseneault, L. , Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
Psychological Medicine, 2013, 43(43), 2077-2086.
doi:10.1017/S0033291712003091
download pdf Our ref: RO631
Show abstract » Background. Childhood psychotic symptoms have been used as a subclinical phenotype of schizophrenia in etiological research and as a target for preventative interventions. However, recent studies have cast doubt on the specificity of these symptoms for schizophrenia, suggesting alternative outcomes such as anxiety and depression. Using a prospective longitudinal birth cohort we investigated whether childhood psychotic symptoms predicted a diagnosis of schizophrenia or other psychiatric disorders by 38 years of age. Method. Participants were drawn from a birth cohort of 1037 children from Dunedin, New Zealand, who were followed prospectively to 38 years of age (96% retention rate). Structured clinical interviews were administered at age 11 to assess psychotic symptoms and study members underwent psychiatric assessments at ages 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38 to obtain past-year DSM-III-R/IV diagnoses and self-reports of attempted suicides since adolescence. Results. Psychotic symptoms at age 11 predicted elevated rates of research diagnoses of schizophrenia and post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and also suicide attempts by age 38, even when controlling for gender, social class and childhood psychopathology. No significant associations were found for persistent anxiety, persistent depression, mania or persistent substance dependence. Very few of the children presenting with age-11 psychotic symptoms were free from disorder by age 38. Conclusions. Childhood psychotic symptoms were not specific to a diagnosis of schizophrenia in adulthood and thus future studies of early symptoms should be cautious in extrapolating findings only to this clinical disorder. However, these symptoms may be useful as a marker of adult mental health problems more broadly.
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Persistent Cannabis Users Show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Midlife | 2012
Meier, M.H., Caspi, A., Ambler, ... Show all » A., Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Keefe, R., McDonald, K., Ward, A., Poulton, R. , Moffitt, T.E. « Hide
PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA) , 2012, 109(109), E2657-64.
doi:10.1073/pnas.1206820109
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Our ref: RO624
Show abstract » Recent reports show that fewer adolescents believe that regular cannabis use is harmful to health. Concomitantly, adolescents are initiating cannabis use at younger ages, and more adolescents are using cannabis on a daily basis. The purpose of the present study was to test the association between persistent cannabis use and neuropsychological decline and determine whether decline is concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users. Participants were members of the Dunedin Study, a prospective study of a birth cohort of 1,037 individuals followed from birth (1972/1973) to age 38 y. Cannabis use was ascertained in interviews at ages 18, 21, 26, 32, and 38 y. Neuropsychological testing was conducted at age 13 y, before initiation of cannabis use, and again at age 38 y, after a pattern of persistent cannabis use had developed. Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning, even after controlling for years of education. Informants also reported noticing more cognitive problems for persistent cannabis users. Impairment was concentrated among adolescent-onset cannabis users, with more persistent use associated with greater decline. Further, cessation of cannabis use did not fully restore neuropsychological functioning among adolescent-onset cannabis users. Findings are suggestive of a neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the adolescent brain and highlight the importance of prevention and policy efforts targeting adolescents.
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Undercontrolled temperament at age 3 predicts disordered gambling at age 32: a longitudinal study of a complete birth cohort | 2012
Slutske, W., Moffitt, T.E., Caspi, ... Show all » A., Poulton, R. « Hide
Psychological Science, 2012, 23(23), 510-516.
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Our ref: RO620
Show abstract » Using data from the large, 30-year prospective Dunedin cohort study, we examined whether preexisting individual differences in childhood temperament predicted adulthood disordered gambling (a diagnosis covering the full continuum of gambling-related problems). A 90-min observational assessment at age 3 was used to categorize children into five temperament groups, including one primarily characterized by behavioral and emotional undercontrol. The children with undercontrolled temperament at 3 years of age were more than twice as likely to evidence disordered gambling at ages 21 and 32 than were children who were well-adjusted at age 3. These associations could not be explained by differences in childhood IQ or family socioeconomic status. Cleanly demonstrating the temporal relation between behavioral undercontrol and adult disordered gambling is an important step toward building more developmentally sensitive theories of disordered gambling and may put researchers in a better position to begin considering potential routes to disordered-gambling prevention through enhancing self-control and emotional regulation.
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Personality and oral Health | 2011
Thomson, W. M. , Caspi, A., Poulton, ... Show all » R. , Moffitt, T.E., Broadbent, J. M. « Hide
European Journal of Oral Science, 2011, 119(119), 366-372.
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Our ref: RO610
Show abstract » We investigated age-26 personality characteristics and age-32 oral health in a prospective study of a complete birth cohort born in Dunedin, New Zealand. Personality was measured using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ). Oral health was measured using the short-form Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-14), a global measure, and dental examinations. Personality profiles were constructed for 916 individuals (50.8% men) using standardized MPQ scores, and multivariate analyses examined their association with oral health. Those reporting 1+ OHIP-14 impacts had higher Negative Emotionality scores (and lower Constraint and Positive Emotionality MPQ superfactor scores) than those who did not. After controlling for gender, clinical status, and the other two MPQ superfactors, those scoring higher on Negative Emotionality had a greater risk of reporting 1+ OHIP-14 impacts, as well as 3+ OHIP-14 impacts and worse-than-average oral health. They also had a greater risk of having lost at least one tooth from caries and of having 3+ decayed surfaces. Personality characteristics appear to shape self-reports of oral health. Personality is also a risk factor for clinical disease status, at least with respect to dental caries and its sequelae. Because the attitudes and values tapped into by personality tests can be altered by brief cognitive interventions, those might be useful in preventive dentistry.
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Risk factors prospectively associated with adult obsessive-compulsive symptom dimensions and obsessive-compulsive disorder | 2011
Grisham, J. R. , Fullana, M. A. , Mataix-Cols, ... Show all » D. , Moffitt, T.E., Caspi, A., Poulton, R. « Hide
Psychological Medicine, 2011, 41(41), 2495-2506.
Link to full publication »
Our ref: RO608
Show abstract » BACKGROUND: Very few longitudinal studies have evaluated prospective neurodevelopmental and psychosocial risk factors for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Furthermore, despite the heterogeneous nature of OCD, no research has examined risk factors for its primary symptom dimensions, such as contamination/washing.Method: Potential risk factors for symptoms or diagnosis of OCD in adulthood and for specific adult obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptom dimensions were examined in the Dunedin Study birth cohort. The presence of obsessions and compulsions and psychological disorders was assessed using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) at ages 26 and 32 years. Individuals with a diagnosis of OCD at either age (n=36) were compared to both a healthy control group (n=613) and an anxious control group (n=310) to determine whether associations between a risk factor and an OCD diagnosis were specific. RESULTS: Childhood neurodevelopmental, behavioral, personality and environmental risk factors were associated with a diagnosis of OCD and with OC symptoms at ages 26 and 32. Social isolation, retrospectively reported physical abuse and negative emotionality were specific predictors of an adult OCD diagnosis. Of note, most risk factors were associated with OC symptoms in adulthood and several risk factors predicted specific OCD dimensions. Perinatal insults were linked to increased risk for symmetry/ordering and shameful thoughts dimensions, whereas poor childhood motor skills predicted the harm/checking dimension. Difficult temperament, internalizing symptoms and conduct problems in childhood also predicted specific symptom dimensions and lower IQ non-specifically predicted increased risk for most dimensions. CONCLUSIONS: The current findings underscore the need for a dimensional approach in evaluating childhood risk factors for obsessions and compulsions.
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A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety | 2011
Moffitt, T.E., Arseneault, L. , Belsky, ... Show all » D.W., Dickson, N., Hancox, R. J. , Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Poulton, R. , Roberts, B.W., Ross, S., Sears, M.R., Thomson, W. M. , Caspi, A. « Hide
PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA), 2011, 108(108), 2693-2698.
doi:10.1073/pnas.1010076108
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Our ref: RO602
Show abstract » Policy-makers are considering large-scale programs aimed at self-control to improve citizens' health and wealth and reduce crime. Experimental and economic studies suggest such programs could reap benefits. Yet, is self-control important for the health, wealth, and public safety of the population? Following a cohort of 1,000 children from birth to the age of 32 y, we show that childhood self-control predicts physical health, substance dependence, personal finances, and criminal offending outcomes, following a gradient of self-control. Effects of children's self-control could be disentangled from their intelligence and social class as well as from mistakes they made as adolescents. In another cohort of 500 sibling-pairs, the sibling with lower self-control had poorer outcomes, despite shared family background. Interventions addressing self-control might reduce a panoply of societal costs, save taxpayers money, and promote prosperity.
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Static and dynamic cognitive deficits in childhood preceding adult schizophrenia: a 30-year study | 2010
Reichenberg, A., Caspi, A. , Harrington, ... Show all » H. L., Houts, R., Keefe, R., Murray, R. M., Poulton, R. , Moffitt, T. E. « Hide
American Journal of Psychiatry, 2010, 167(167), 160-169.
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Our ref: RO595
Show abstract » OBJECTIVE: Premorbid cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are well documented and have been interpreted as supporting a neurodevelopmental etiological model. The authors investigated the following three unresolved questions about premorbid cognitive deficits: What is their developmental course? Do all premorbid cognitive deficits follow the same course? Are premorbid cognitive deficits specific to schizophrenia or shared by other psychiatric disorders? METHOD: Participants were members of a representative cohort of 1,037 males and females born between 1972 and 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand. Cohort members underwent follow-up evaluations at specific intervals from age 3 to 32 years, with a 96% retention rate. Cognitive development was analyzed and compared in children who later developed schizophrenia or recurrent depression as well as in healthy comparison subjects. RESULTS: Children who developed adult schizophrenia exhibited developmental deficits (i.e., static cognitive impairments that emerge early and remain stable) on tests indexing verbal and visual knowledge acquisition, reasoning, and conceptualization. In addition, these children exhibited developmental lags (i.e., growth that is slower relative to healthy comparison subjects) on tests indexing processing speed, attention, visual-spatial problem solving ability, and working memory. These two premorbid cognitive patterns were not observed in children who later developed recurrent depression. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the origins of schizophrenia include two interrelated developmental processes evident from childhood to early adolescence (ages 7-13 years). Children who will grow up to develop adult schizophrenia enter primary school struggling with verbal reasoning and lag further behind their peers in working memory, attention, and processing speed as they get older.
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How common are common mental disorders? Evidence that lifetime prevalence rates are doubled by prospective versus retrospective ascertainment | 2010
Moffitt, T.E., Caspi, A., Taylor, ... Show all » A., Kokaua, J./Milne, B.J., Polanczyk, G., Poulton, R. « Hide
Psychological Medicine, 2010, 40(40), 899-909.
doi:10.1017/S0033291709991036
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Show abstract » BACKGROUND: Most information about the lifetime prevalence of mental disorders comes from retrospective surveys, but how much these surveys have undercounted due to recall failure is unknown. We compared results from a prospective study with those from retrospective studies.MethodThe representative 1972-1973 Dunedin New Zealand birth cohort (n=1037) was followed to age 32 years with 96% retention, and compared to the national New Zealand Mental Health Survey (NZMHS) and two US National Comorbidity Surveys (NCS and NCS-R). Measures were research diagnoses of anxiety, depression, alcohol dependence and cannabis dependence from ages 18 to 32 years. RESULTS: The prevalence of lifetime disorder to age 32 was approximately doubled in prospective as compared to retrospective data for all four disorder types. Moreover, across disorders, prospective measurement yielded a mean past-year-to-lifetime ratio of 38% whereas retrospective measurement yielded higher mean past-year-to-lifetime ratios of 57% (NZMHS, NCS-R) and 65% (NCS). CONCLUSIONS: Prospective longitudinal studies complement retrospective surveys by providing unique information about lifetime prevalence. The experience of at least one episode of DSM-defined disorder during a lifetime may be far more common in the population than previously thought. Research should ask what this means for etiological theory, construct validity of the DSM approach, public perception of stigma, estimates of the burden of disease and public health policy.
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Adverse childhood experiences and adult risk factors for age-related disease: depression, inflammation, and clustering of metabolic risk markers | 2009
Danese, A. , Moffitt, T. E. , Harrington, ... Show all » H. L., Milne, B. J. , Polanczyk, G., Pariante, C.M., Poulton, R. , Caspi, A. « Hide
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2009, 163(163), 1135-1143.
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Our ref: RO593
Show abstract » OBJECTIVE: To understand why children exposed to adverse psychosocial experiences are at elevated risk for age-related disease, such as cardiovascular disease, by testing whether adverse childhood experiences predict enduring abnormalities in stress-sensitive biological systems, namely, the nervous, immune, and endocrine/metabolic systems. DESIGN: A 32-year prospective longitudinal study of a representative birth cohort. SETTING: New Zealand. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1037 members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. Main Exposures During their first decade of life, study members were assessed for exposure to 3 adverse psychosocial experiences: socioeconomic disadvantage, maltreatment, and social isolation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: At age 32 years, study members were assessed for the presence of 3 age-related-disease risks: major depression, high inflammation levels (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein level >3 mg/L), and the clustering of metabolic risk biomarkers (overweight, high blood pressure, high total cholesterol, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high glycated hemoglobin, and low maximum oxygen consumption levels. RESULTS: Children exposed to adverse psychosocial experiences were at elevated risk of depression, high inflammation levels, and clustering of metabolic risk markers. Children who had experienced socioeconomic disadvantage (incidence rate ratio, 1.89; 95% confidence interval, 1.36-2.62), maltreatment (1.81; 1.38-2.38), or social isolation (1.87; 1.38-2.51) had elevated age-related-disease risks in adulthood. The effects of adverse childhood experiences on age-related-disease risks in adulthood were nonredundant, cumulative, and independent of the influence of established developmental and concurrent risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: Children exposed to adverse psychosocial experiences have enduring emotional, immune, and metabolic abnormalities that contribute to explaining their elevated risk for age-related disease. The promotion of healthy psychosocial experiences for children is a necessary and potentially cost-effective target for the prevention of age-related disease.
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