An Examination of Resilience and Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Treatment of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders

Author: Zhila Javidi-Hosseinabad

Javidi-Hosseinabad, Zhila, 2019 An Examination of Resilience and Adverse Childhood Experiences in the Treatment of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders, Flinders University, College of Medicine and Public Health

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Anxiety and depression are extremely unrelenting and incapacitating, being the leading causes of disease burden. This research program sought to examine the roles of childhood adversities and resilience in the presentation of these disorders. The existing body of literature suggested that childhood adversities may contribute to distorted cognitions, emotion dysregulation and maladaptive behaviours, whereas resilience acts as a potential safeguard through the development of positive adaptive strategies in the face of vulnerabilities.

Chapter Two described the prevalence of six common anxiety disorders and the main types of depression and presented cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) as the suite of preferred evidenced-based therapies for their treatment.

Chapter Three provided a review of the relevance of childhood adversities. They are now considered a silent global epidemic, with a significant impact on developmental milestones and the manifestation of internalising (e.g., anxiety and depression) and externalising disorders (e.g., antisocial behaviour, substance disorders). Particular types of childhood adversities have been linked to adult anxiety and depression.

Chapter Four introduced the concept of resilience, which may be best described as a set of adaptations within specific domains, that if lacking may contribute to anxiety and depression. However, resilience is yet to be consistently applied to the context of psychopathology or psychological intervention. A role for resilience may lie in the gradual shift from traditional deficit-based to more strength-based intervention frameworks.

Chapter Five introduced the methods underpinning the major empirical phases of the research program. There was a detailed commentary on the measures and protocols used to determine the success of a standard treatment delivered locally.

Keywords: Resilience, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, self-Compassion, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety and Depressive Disorders

Subject: Mental Health Sciences thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2019
School: College of Medicine and Public Health
Supervisor: Associate Professor Malcom Bond