Background: The study investigates whether persons who have experienced childhood adversity are more likely to develop depressive symptoms when faced with recent events. Method: Data were used from a population-based sample, aged 55 to 85 years (n = 1887), which were not depressed at baseline. Childhood adversities and recent stressful life events were retrospectively assessed. Depressive symptoms were measured with the CES-D. Results: 14.4% of our sample experienced adverse events during childhood (< 18 yrs) and 35.4% experienced recent events. Associations of depressive symptoms were found with both, childhood adversity (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.21-2.69) and recent life events (OR 1.42, 95% CI 1.01-2.00). The effect of recent events on depressive symptoms was not modified by childhood adversity. Limitations: Underreporting may be present due to unwillingness to report embarrassing events or to disclose painful memories. Conclusions: No evidence was found for the assumption that older persons were more vulnerable for depression in reaction to recent life events when they were exposed to childhood adversity.