The relationship between childhood poverty, military service, and later life depression among men: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study.

TitleThe relationship between childhood poverty, military service, and later life depression among men: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBareis, N, Mezuk, B
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume206
Pagination1-7
Date Published12/2016
ISSN Number1573-2517
KeywordsChildhood adversity, Depressive symptoms, Older Adults, Veterans
Abstract

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.

URLhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27455351
DOI10.1016/j.jad.2016.07.018
Alternate JournalJ Affect Disord
Citation Key8568
PubMed ID27455351