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Validating New Summary Indices for the Childhood Trauma Interview: Associations With First Onsets of Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders

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Childhood and adolescent adversity is of great interest in relation to risk for psychopathology, and interview measures of adversity are thought to be more reliable and valid than their questionnaire counterparts. One interview measure, the Childhood Trauma Interview (CTI; Fink et al., 1995), has been positively evaluated relative to similar measures, but there are some psychometric limitations to an existing scoring approach that limit the full potential of this measure. We propose several new summary indices for the CTI that permit examination of different types of adversity and different developmental periods. Our approach creates several summary indices: one sums the severity scores of adversities endorsed; another utilizes the number of minor and major (moderate to severe) adversities. The new indices were examined in association with first onsets of major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders across a 5-year period using annual clinical diagnostic interviews (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR). Summary scores derived with the previously used approach were also examined for comparison. Data on 332 participants came from the Youth Emotion Project, a longitudinal study of risk for emotional disorders. Results support the predictive validity of the proposed summary scoring methods and indicate that several forms of major (but typically not minor) adversity are significantly associated with first onsets of MDD and anxiety disorders. Finally, multivariate regression models show that, in many instances, the new indices contributed significant unique variance predicting disorder onsets over and above the previously used summary indices.

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