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63. Early pubertal timing as a risk factor for recurrent depressive episodes
Early pubertal timing reliably predicts the prospective onset of depressive disorders for girls; however, research has yet to examine if it prospectively predicts the likelihood of recurrent depressive episodes. The goal of the current study is to evaluate if pubertal timing predicts recurrent (more than two) depressive episodes, and if effects vary by history of depression (no past episodes or one past episode). At baseline, youth, N = 489, 56% female, Mage = 12.11 (2.36), reported on their pubertal development. At baseline and every six months afterward, interviewers assessed diagnoses of depression across a three-year period. There was a significant interaction between pubertal timing and history of depression at baseline, in that early pubertal timing predicted greater odds of the onset of two or more prospective depressive episodes relative to the onset of one episode, (b = 0.69, OR= 2.00, p = .02), for those who had no history of depression. Identifying premorbid factors that predict the likelihood of recurrent episodes during adolescence may aid in the identification of individuals likely to have chronic course of depression over the lifespan.