Early-life adversity and risk for depression and anxiety: The role of interpersonal support

Allison V. Metts, Julia S. Yarrington, Richard Zinbarg, Constance Hammen, Susan Mineka, Craig Enders, Michelle G. Craske*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Early-life adversity is a major risk factor for psychopathology, but not all who experience adversity develop psychopathology. The current study evaluated whether the links between child and adolescent adversity and depression and anxiety were described by general benefits and/or buffering effects of interpersonal support. Data from 456 adolescents oversampled on neuroticism over a 5-year period were examined in a series of discrete-time survival analyses to predict subsequent disorder onsets. Models examined linear, quadratic, and interactive effects of interpersonal support over time, as measured by chronic interpersonal stress interview ratings. Results did not support buffering effects of interpersonal support against either child or adolescent adversity in predicting depression or anxiety. However, there was support for the general benefits model of interpersonal support as evidenced by follow-up analyses of significant quadratic effects of interpersonal support, demonstrating that higher interpersonal support led to decreased likelihood of depression and anxiety onsets. Secondary analyses demonstrated that effects of interpersonal support remained after accounting for baseline depression and anxiety diagnoses. Further, quadratic effects were driven by social domains as opposed to familial domains when considering child adversity. Implications for interventions and randomized controlled prevention trials regarding interpersonal relationships are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • early-life adversity
  • general benefits
  • interpersonal support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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