The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and depression: A cross-sectional survey with university students in Botswana

South African Journal of Psychiatry

Field Value
Title The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and depression: A cross-sectional survey with university students in Botswana
Creator Amone-P'Olak, Kennedy Letswai, Nkalosang K.
Subject Psychiatry; Psychology; Public Health adverse childhood experiences; depression; young adults; psychological abuse; Botswana
Description Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with severe life-long negative outcomes, including depression. Particularly in low- and middle-income countries, few studies have been conducted to assess the impact of ACEs.Aim: To assess the influence of ACEs on depression among young adults.Setting: Participants were students at a large university in Gaborone, Botswana.Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, we investigated the associations between ACEs and depression in young adults in Botswana (n = 392, mean age = 22.2, ± 2.5, 53.4% female). Bivariate correlation analyses, t-tests and analyses of variance (ANOVA) were performed to assess associations and compare ACEs at different levels of depression.Results: A total of 73% (n = 287) reported one or more ACEs, whilst 15% (59) reported five or more ACEs. About 64% (38) of those who reported five or more ACEs were female respondents. Prevalence of specific ACEs ranged from 9.5% (child neglect) to 36.3% (separation and divorce). One in three respondents reported parental separation or divorce, psychological abuse and family dysfunction, whilst 19% (11% moderate and 8% severe) reported significant depressive symptoms. Adverse childhood experiences significantly predicted depression (β = 0.27, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.18, 0.37). Respondents at different levels of depression significantly differed on reporting ACEs (F(3, 389) = 11.43, p 0.001).Conclusion: Adverse childhood experiences are highly prevalent and key determinants of depression in young adulthood. A multifaceted and cross-system intervention (e.g. schools, social work, psychological services, health services and law enforcement) is required to protect, prevent and treat survivors of childhood adversity.
Publisher AOSIS
Contributor N.K.L. was responsible for the research idea, literature review, and data collection. K.A-P. oversaw the study and contributed to research idea and design, literature review, data analysis and writing of the article.
Date 2020-11-03
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — Survey
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v26i0.1444
Source South African Journal of Psychiatry; Vol 26 (2020); 8 pages 2078-6786 1608-9685
Language eng
Relation info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/000000
Coverage Southern Africa May 2019 Age: 18-25; Males and females; Students
Rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess Copyright (c) 2020 Kennedy Amone-P’Olak, Nkalosang K. Letswai