Does adolescent stress lead to mood disorders in adulthood?

November 03, 2010

Montreal, November 3, 2010 - Stress may be more hazardous to our mental health than previously believed, according to new research from Concordia University. A series of studies from the institution have found there may be a link between the recent rise in depression rates and the increase of daily stress.

"Major depression has become one of the most pressing health issues in both developing and developed countries," says principal researcher Mark Ellenbogen, a professor at the Concordia Centre for Research in Human Development and a Canada Research Chair in Developmental Psychopathology.

"What is especially alarming is that depression in young people is increasing in successive generations. People are suffering from depression earlier in life and more people are getting it. We want to know why and how. We believe that stress is a major contributor."

From parent to child Ellenbogen and colleagues are particularly interested in the link between childhood stress and the development of clinical depression and bipolar disorder. His team is evaluating the stress of children who are living in families where one parent is affected by a mood disorder.

"Previous studies have shown that kids from at-risk families are at higher risk of having a psychiatric disorder in their lifetime," says Ellenbogen. "We know that they're not just inheriting these traits but they are also being raised in environment that is stressful, chaotic and lacking in structure. Our goal is to tease out how this type of environment influences these children's mental health in adolescence and adulthood."

Cortisol, the stress hormone To assess stress levels, Ellenbogen is measuring the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol present in the children's saliva. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the body in response to stressful life events and challenges.

Ellenbogen's recent findings have shown that the adolescent offspring of at-risk families have higher salivary cortisol levels than kids from families without disorders. What's more, he found these elevated levels persist into young adulthood.

"Although there may be many causes to the rise in cortisol, this increase may be in part due to exposure to family stress and parenting style," says Ellenbogen. "We have not yet confirmed that these children then go on to develop mood disorders of their own. However, we have some exciting preliminary data showing that high cortisol levels in adolescences doubles your risk for developing a serious mood disorder in young adulthood."
-end-
Dr. Ellenbogen will present the lecture, "When Good Hormones go Bad: Stress, Cortisol and the Affective Disorders," on Wednesday, November 10, at 3 p.m. at the Lady Davis Institute of the Jewish General Hospital, Amphitheatre, 4333 Chemin de la Cote Sainte-Catherine.

Partners in research: These research projects are funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Related links:Media contact:
Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
Senior advisor, media relations
University Communications Services
Concordia University
Phone: 514-848-2424, ext. 5068
Email: s-j.desjardins@concordia.ca
Twitter: http://twitter.com/concordianews
Concordia news: http://now.concordia.ca

Concordia University

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.