University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Adverse Childhood Life Events and Postpartum Mood Episodes in Bipolar Disorder

Perry, Amy ORCID:, Di Florio, A., Gordon-Smith, Katherine ORCID:, Forty, L., Pariante, C., Craddock, N., Jones, Lisa ORCID: and Jones, I. (2015) Adverse Childhood Life Events and Postpartum Mood Episodes in Bipolar Disorder. In: Summer Meeting of British Association of Psychopharmacology, 26th - 29th July 2015, University of Bristol.

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The early postpartum has been established as a period of increased vulnerability for psychiatric mood illness. Women with bipolar disorder (BD) in particular are at elevated risk of postnatal depression (PND) and of postpartum psychosis (PP). Though adverse childhood life events (ACLEs) have been implicated in the aetiology of PND, this has rarely been studied in relation to PP. Furthermore, despite being at high risk of relapse following childbirth, little research has assessed the relationship between ACLEs and postnatal mood episodes (PNEs) exclusively in women with BD. Therefore, our aim was to explore associations between ACLEs and occurrence of both PND and PP in a large sample of women with BD.

Participants were 665 parous women with BD who had been recruited into the Bipolar Disorder Research Network study. Diagnoses and lifetime psychopathology were obtained via a semi-structured interview (SCAN). Postnatal psychiatric history and experience of 7 ACLEs were also assessed. Where available, all information obtained at interview was confirmed from psychiatric case notes. Women were classified into three groups according to postnatal psychiatric history: 1) those who had experienced no postnatal mood episode (no PNE, n=224), 2) women with a history of PND (n=223) and 3) women who had experienced PP (n=208). A Pearson’s chi-square test was used to compare the prevalence of each type of ACLE between women in the no PNE group and those with a history of PND or PP.

Women with PND were significantly more likely to have experienced emotional, sexual or physical abuse in childhood compared with women who had no history of a PNE (p<0.05). In particular, childhood sexual abuse was reported significantly more in the PND than the no PNE group (P<0.05). In contrast, there were no significant differences in the frequency of reporting of any ACLEs between women who had no PNE and those with PP.

Our findings indicate that childhood abuse, sexual abuse in particular, is associated with PND among women with BD. In contrast, we found no evidence for an association between any ACLE and PP, suggesting that biological factors are likely to play a more important role in the aetiology of psychosis in the early postpartum.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: bipolar disorder, postpartum mood episodes, adverse childhood life events, postpartum psychosis, postnatal depression
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
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Copyright Info: Journal of Psychopharmacology
Depositing User: Amy Perry
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2015 10:49
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:08

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