Trajectories from Childhood to Suicide: The Role of Childhood Adversity and Psychopathology
Objective: With a life course perspective, we have identified the diverse pathways in which cumulative adversity in childhood and adolescence lead to detrimental outcomes: psychopathology and suicide. This study's design allowed us to address some major, controversial developmental issues surrounding the contribution of multiple forms of adversity (victimization events versus non-victimization events) to negative outcomes, specifically mental health disorders and suicide.
Method: We combined three statistical analyses: discrete time survival (DTS), latent class growth analysis (LCGA) and path analysis to identify the sequence of events and conditions that contribute to the development of psychopathology and suicide.
Results: Our results show that the process implicates early childhood adversities that act in a cascading manner and are cumulative in two ways: quantitatively and qualitatively. Therefore, pathways with more severe adverse experiences in childhood (victimization such as abuse or neglect) or with a greater number of adversity events (non-victimization) both tend to produce mental health problems and suicidal behavior early in life, contrary to pathways with fewer or less severe adversities.