Objective: To examine how childhood adversity (ie, parental death, parental divorce, suspension of school education due to financial strain or being raised in a relative's house due to financial strain) is associated with prevalence and incidence of adulthood depressive symptoms and whether this association differs by gender and by age in South Korea. Design: Prospective cohort design. Setting: Nationally representative longitudinal survey in South Korea. Participants: 11 526 participants in South Korea. Outcome measure: Prevalence and incidence of adulthood depressive symptoms were assessed as a dichotomous variable using the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale in 2006 and 2007. Results: In the prevalence analysis, each of the four childhood adversities was significantly associated with a higher prevalence of adulthood depressive symptoms. The higher incidence of depressive symptoms was associated with suspension of school education (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.82) and parental divorce (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.71). In the agestratified analyses, prevalence of depressive symptoms was associated with all CAs across different adulthoods, except for parental divorce and late adulthood depressive symptoms. After being stratified by gender, the association was significant for parental divorce (OR 3.76, 95% CI 2.34 to 6.03) in the prevalence analysis and for being raised in a relative's house (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.21 to 2.94) in the incidence analysis only among women. Conclusions: This study suggests that childhood adversity may increase prevalence and incidence of adulthood depressive symptoms, and the impact of parental divorce or being raised in a relative's house due to financial strain on adulthood depressive symptoms may differ by gender.
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