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A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders$
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Karestan C. Koenen, Sasha Rudenstine, Ezra Susser, and Sandro Galea

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657018

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657018.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Role of the social environmental over the life course in the aetiology of psychiatric disorders

Role of the social environmental over the life course in the aetiology of psychiatric disorders

(p.215) Chapter 20 Role of the social environmental over the life course in the aetiology of psychiatric disorders
A Life Course Approach to Mental Disorders

Stephen E. Gilman

Jessica R. Marden

Oxford University Press

Psychiatric epidemiology has for decades been searching for the environmental origins of psychiatric disorders. If it is ultimately determined that environmental correlates of disorders are causes, interventions targeting environmental risk factors could reduce the public health burden of psychopathology. This chapter systematically reviews the evidence linking exposures in the social environment over the life course with the risk of psychiatric disorders. Only those studies that are prospective and that define psychiatric disorders according to DSM-IV criteria have been included. The search identified 26 studies that met these inclusion criteria. These studies investigated the risk of mood, anxiety, and substance disorders following exposure to specific stressors (e.g. childhood maltreatment, parental divorce) and to the number of stressful life events during a given time-period (e.g. early childhood, past-year). Effect sizes reported in relative risk terms varied considerably across studies and ranged from 1.1 to 2.5. Topics discussed include the specificity of the associations between environmental exposures and subsequent psychiatric disorders, the consistency of associations with disorder onset and disorder recurrence, the clustering of environmental exposures, and the implications of these findings for clinical practice.

Keywords:   life course epidemiology, mental disorders, depression, anxiety, social environment, DSM-IV

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