Science & Tech

Children from working-class families twice as likely to be depressed adults

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Researcher says social inequalities and depression have roots in early life

Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds have an elevated risk of depression throughout their lifetimes, even if they become more professionally successful than their parents. That’s the conclusion of a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health researcher Stephen Gilman and colleagues. The study also suggests that girls raised in working-class households are more likely to develop depression as adults than boys in similar households. Gilman points out that the majority of participants in the study did not develop depression, indicating that childhood factors are only part of the story of major depression. However, “the identification of risks for depression early in life reinforces the importance of childhood experiences for adult health and may be one avenue towards the reduction of social inequalities in psychiatric disorders,” Gilman says.