Poverty combined with overcrowded housing or separation from parents poses the highest risks

Poverty, combined with other forms of adversity in early childhood, is associated with greater odds of premature death in adulthood, compared to to other adverse childhood experiences, according to a study by over 46 16 people by researchers from the National Institutes of Overall health.

Compared to children who did not experience early adversity, child poverty combined with overcrowded housing was associated with a risk of premature death of 41 % higher, and early poverty combined with separation from a dad or mum was associated with an increase in 50 % of premature deaths. Those who experienced parental harshness and neglect had a 16% risk of premature death higher, and those who experienced family instability had a 28% higher risk of premature death.

The findings build on previous studies that linked individual types of negative childhood experiences to risk of death, as well as other studies that have shown that the risk of death increased as exposure to childhood adversity increased. The current study identifies links between combinations of early childhood adversity and overall risks of premature death.

“Understanding how patterns of early childhood adversity are associated with shortened life expectancy helps us better understand the toll of early experiences on human health and the extent to which this toll carries over from childhood to adulthood,” said the lead author of the report. Study, Stephen E. Gilman. Sc.D. Chief of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Branch at the National Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the NIH. “In the very long term, we hope that results such as ours can inform efforts to develop better interventions that would reduce both exposure to childish adversity and the health consequences of early adversity in children. exposed children.”

The study, led by investigators Jing Yu, Ph.D. Dr. Gilman and other NICHD colleagues, appears in The Lancet Regional Health — Americas.

Study participants were offspring of mothers enrolled in the Collaborative Perinatal Project, an NIH-led maternal and child health study. The researchers compared data from death records compiled from 1979 to 2016 with data that assessed children’s experiences from birth, from 1959 to 1966, until at the age of 7. Among the 46 50 individuals at the study, 3 50 deaths occurred. Based on the information from the questionnaire and other data collected from the participants’ mothers, the researchers developed five classifications of early childhood adversity:

  • Low adversity: low odds of having experienced significant adverse events during childhood (48 % of participants)
  • Parental harshness and neglect: likely to have experienced adverse events such as parental physical or emotional harshness and physical neglect (4% of contributors)
  • Family instability: likely to have experienced two or more changes in their mom’s marital status and dad, divorce or separation of dad and mom, frequent changes of residence, death of a guardian or sibling or foster family (9% of participants)
  • Poverty and overcrowded housing: likely to have experienced u poverty and overcrowded housing (27 % of contributors)
  • Poverty and parental separation: Likely to have experienced poverty, social assistance, parental divorce or separation, and changes in marriage and residence ( 16 % of patients)

    In addition to the higher risk of death for people belonging to the last four classes, the risk of premature death increased with the number of negative experiences in childhood. People with two adverse experiences had a 27% higher risk of early death than three experiences adverse experiences, a 29% higher risk of death and four adverse experiences, a risk 46% highest.

    “Our findings and those of previous studies of negative childhood experiences highlight the need to reduce children’s exposure to the kinds of adversities that many face today, including poverty, poor housing conditions and separation from dad and mom,” said NICHD researcher Dr. Yu. Social and Behavioral Sciences Branch. “These experiences can affect brain development, social and emotional well-being, behavioral development and, as our results suggest, can reduce life expectancy.

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