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Intergenerational effects of childhood maltreatment and malnutrition on personality maladaptivity in a Barbadian longitudinal cohort.

  • Hock, Rebecca S1
  • Rabinowitz, Arielle G2
  • Bryce, Cyralene P3
  • Fitzmaurice, Garrett M4
  • Jr, Paul T Costa5
  • Galler, Janina R6
  • 1 The Chester M. Pierce MD Division of Global Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 2 Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 3 Barbados Nutrition Study, Ladymeade Gardens No. 1, Bridgetown, Barbados. , (Barbados)
  • 4 Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. and McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA, USA.
  • 5 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.
  • 6 Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, and Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
Published Article
Psychiatry research
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113016
PMID: 32682171


Childhood adversities are linked with mental health problems throughout the life course, including personality pathology. Less is known about consequences in the next generation, particularly in non-Western populations. In the Barbados Nutrition Study, we assessed associations of two parental (G1) childhood adversities- (1) maltreatment history using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-Short Form (CTQ-SF), and (2) clinically ascertained infant malnutrition limited to the first year of life-on PD symptoms in their G2 offspring, using NEO FFM PD prototypes. In linear regression models clustered by family and adjusted for other G1 childhood adversities and family socioeconomic status, we found that G1 parental history of childhood maltreatment was significantly associated with increased G2 offspring Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, and Dependent PD scores. When G1 childhood malnutrition was the exposure of interest, we found a significant association with Schizoid PD scores. When the sample was restricted to offspring of G1 mothers, even more extensive associations with G2 personality pathology were observed. This study supports a link between parental exposure to childhood adversities and increased personality maladaptivity in the next generation, with some specific patterns worthy of further exploration. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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