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Research Highlights

Childhood Hunger Linked to Adult Pain, Depression

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20130227goosby_CropSMChildren who often go hungry are at high risk of experiencing depression and chronic pain as adults, a UNL study found. Sociologist Bridget Goosby examined results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, looking for relationships between circumstances in childhood and physical and mental health as adults. “The most robust child socioeconomic condition was experiencing hunger. Kids who missed meals have a much higher risk of experiencing pain and depression in adulthood,” she said. Her study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, also found that having a depressed mother correlated with adult-age depression and that the children of parents with less than 12 years of education were at higher risk of experiencing chronic pain as adults than those with more highly educated parents. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded this research.

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