Adult Depression and Chronic Pain: Examining the Relationship between Childhood Family Context and Health in Adulthood

Bridget J. Goosby, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

In this study, I examine the extent to which risky family characteristics increase the odds of reporting depression and/or chronic pain in adulthood using data from the National Comorbidity Study Replication (NCS-R). Few sociological studies address indicators of both mental and physical health simultaneously and, beyond research exploring developmental trajectories through adolescence, few studies examine how risky childhood family characteristics are related to adult levels of mental health and physical illness. The results illustrate that adults with depressed mothers had increased odds of reporting adulthood depression with and without chronic pain. Second, among those reporting depressive symptoms, I assess which childhood family characteristics increase the frequency of experiencing adult functional impairment. Among those adults who experience depression, maternal depression also increases the odds of having more frequent and severe incidences of functional impairment. These findings dramatically illustrate the far-reaching influence of childhood family context on adult health and life chances.

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Presented in Session 65: The Demography of Mental Health