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Am J Public Health. 2010 Sep;100(9):1719-23. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.180943. Epub 2010 Jul 15.

Family poverty over the early life course and recurrent adolescent and young adult anxiety and depression: a longitudinal study.

Author information

1
School of Population Health, University of Queensland, and Mater Centre for Service Research in Mental Health, Mater Hospital, Herston Road, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia. j.najman@sph.uq.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We determined whether exposure to family poverty over a child's early life course predicts adolescent and young adult anxiety and depression.

METHODS:

We used a birth cohort study of a sample of women in Brisbane, Australia, who were recruited in early pregnancy and whose children were followed up on at ages 14 and 21 years. Some 2609 mothers and adolescents provided usable data at the 14- and 21-year follow-ups.

RESULTS:

After adjustment for poverty at other phases, poverty at the 14-year follow-up was the strongest predictor of adolescent and young adult anxiety and depression. The more frequently the child was exposed to poverty, the greater was the risk of that individual being anxious and depressed at both the 14- and 21-year follow-ups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Family poverty predicts higher rates of adolescent and young adult anxiety and depression. Increased frequency of child exposure to poverty is a consistent predictor of adolescent and young adult anxiety and depression. Repeated experiences of poverty over a child's early life course are associated with increased levels of poor mental health.

PMID:
20634459
PMCID:
PMC2920957
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2009.180943
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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