Background Cognitive distortion is a central feature of depression, encompassing negative thinking, dysfunctional personality styles and dysfunctional attitudes. It has been hypothesized that ACEs could increase the vulnerability to depression by contributing to the development of a stable negative cognitive style. Nevertheless, little research has been carried out on possible associations between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and cognitive distortion, and whether any gender differences exist.
Aim The aim of this study was to examine the association between ACEs and cognitive distortions and possible differences between genders in a sample of patients affected by bipolar disorder.
Method 130 patients with bipolar disorder (BD) (46 men and 84 females), completed the Risky Family Questionnaire to assess ACEs and the Cognition Questionnaire (CQ) to assess cognitive distortions.
Results A positive association was found between ACE and the CQ total score. Investigating the 5 dimensions assessed through the CQ, only the dimension "generalization across situations" was significantly associated to ACE. An interaction between ACE and gender was found for "generalization across situations", while no differential effect among females and males was found for CQ total score.
Conclusion This is the first study to report a relationship between negative past experiences and depressive cognitive distortions in subjects affected by BD. Growing in a family environment affected by harsh parenting seems to a cognitive vulnerability to depression; this effect is especially strong in females.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Clinical Psychology