The "long arm" of childhood health: linking childhood disability to late midlife mental health.

TitleThe "long arm" of childhood health: linking childhood disability to late midlife mental health.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLatham, K
JournalRes Aging
Date Published2015 Jan
ISSN Number1552-7573
KeywordsChild, depression, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Risk Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Time Factors, United States

A growing body of research underscores the early origins of health in later life; however, relatively little is known about the relationship between childhood physical health and adult mental health. This research explores the relationship between childhood disability and depressive symptoms among a nationally representative sample of late midlife adults (N = 3,572). Using data from Waves 8-10 (2006-2010) of the Health and Retirement Study, a series of ordinary least squares regression models were created to assess the number of depressive symptoms. Childhood disability was significantly associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms; however, late midlife social and health factors accounted for differences between those with and without childhood disability. Late midlife physical health appeared to be a particularly salient mediator. Individuals who experience childhood disability may accumulate more physical impairment over the life course, thus experiencing worse mental health such as greater depressive symptoms in late midlife.

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Endnote Keywords

childhood disability/mental health/depressive symptoms/life course

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalRes Aging
Citation Key8176
PubMed ID25651552
PubMed Central IDPMC4318263
Grant ListR24 HD041028 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32 AG000221 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States