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Title: The impact of early childhood experiences on psychopathology and suicidal behaviour in Northern Ireland : risk and protective factors
Author: McLafferty, Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 8513
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2018
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Childhood adversities can impact negatively on the stress response, which is associated with psychological disorders and suicidal behaviour. Parenting practices such as over­control, over-protection and over-indulgence can also be detrimental. Additionally, harmful childhood experiences may result in reduced social networks, poor emotion regulation and coping strategies, factors which can be protective. Mild to moderate levels of adversity may also be protective. However, there is a paucity of research in this area. This thesis aimed to uncover links between childhood experiences and psychopathology and suicidality, identifying risk and protective factors. Secondary data analyses were conducted utilising data from the Northern Ireland Study of Health and Stress (n= 1,986), an epidemiological study conducted as part of the WHO World Mental Health (WMH) Survey Initiative. Primary data was also collected for the Ulster University Student Wellbeing Study (n=739), part of the WMH International College Student Project. Both surveys use the well validated WHO-CIDI to examine psychopathology and associated risk factors (Kessler & Ustun, 2008). The studies revealed that elevated levels of childhood adversities, parental over-control and over-indulgence were significant risk factors for mental health problems and suicidality. Such experiences also had an indirect impact as they were related to lower levels of social networks, poor emotion regulation strategies and maladaptive coping. These factors when available were protective. Moderate levels of adversity were also protective in some instances. The findings highlight areas for early intervention and prevention programmes to reduce the likelihood of childhood adversities or negative parenting practices and to minimise the impact of such experiences. Programmes and initiatives which aim to build resilience, social networks, good emotion regulation and coping strategies in offspring, would be particularly beneficial. The findings also provide backing for campaigns and promotions to encourage help seeking and the establishment of support programmes within schools, universities and the wider community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available