|Title||The relationship between childhood poverty, military service, and later life depression among men: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Bareis, N, Mezuk, B|
|Journal||Journal of Affective Disorders|
|Keywords||Childhood adversity, Depressive symptoms, Older Adults, Veterans|
BACKGROUND: Childhood poverty has been associated with depression in adulthood, but whether this relationship extends to later life major depression (MD) or is modified by military service is unclear.
METHODS: Data come from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) 2010 wave, a longitudinal, nationally representative study of older adults. Men with data on military service and childhood poverty were included (N=6330). Childhood poverty was assessed by four indicators (i.e., parental unemployment, residential instability) experienced before age 16. Military service was categorized as veteran versus civilian, and during draft versus all-volunteer (after 1973) eras. Past year MD was defined by the Composite International Diagnostic Inventory.
RESULTS: Four in ten men ever served, with 13.7% in the all-volunteer military. Approximately 12% of civilians, 8% draft era and 24% all-volunteer era veterans had MD. Childhood poverty was associated with higher odds of MD (Odds Ratio (OR): 2.38, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.32-4.32) and higher odds of military service (OR: 2.58, 95% CI: 1.58-4.21). Military service was marginally associated with MD (OR: 1.28, 95% CI: 0.98-1.68) and did not moderate the association between childhood poverty and MD.
LIMITATIONS: Self-report data is subject to recall bias. The HRS did not assess childhood physical and emotional abuse, or military combat exposure.
CONCLUSIONS: Men raised in poverty had greater odds of draft and all-volunteer military service. Early-life experiences, independent of military service, appear associated with greater odds of MD. Assessing childhood poverty in service members may identify risk for depression in later life.
|Alternate Journal||J Affect Disord|