Date Presented 04/21/2023

This study focused on examining whether childhood backgrounds were associated with mental health in middle age. The study findings suggest that promoting a happy family life in childhood may contribute to better mental health in middle age.

Primary Author and Speaker: Seungju Lim

Additional Authors and Speakers: Sangmi Park, Yebin Han, Kiwoong Kim, Su Jeong Jee, Ickpyo Hong

Contributing Authors: Ji-Hyuk Park

PURPOSE: Evidence for influence of childhood backgrounds on mental health status in adult is increasing. Compared to ample studies on influence of adverse childhood experience on mental health in middle-age, influence of positive experience was less investigated. In this study, we investigated positive childhood backgrounds, and hypothesized that childhood backgrounds are significantly related to mental health in middle-age.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional design. The National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) was used for this secondary data analysis. Participants who aged between 50 and 64 at third wave of NSHAP were included.

METHOD: For independent variables, eight types of childhood backgrounds were measured (i.e., family life happiness, family structure, mother’s and father’s educational status, financial situation, experience of violence, witness of violence, childhood health). For dependent variables, four types of mental health score were used in middle-age (UCLA Loneliness Scale; Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; Perception Stress Scale). Generalized linear modeling was applied to examine the associations of childhood backgrounds with each type of mental health score. SAS software was used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: After removing all missing values of the study variables, 848 respondents were included. Out of eight childhood background variables, only family life happiness was statistically significant. The association of family life happiness was statistically significant for all types of mental health (loneliness β=−0.75 (p<0.01); depression β=−0.66 (p<0.05); anxiety β=−0.78 (p<0.01); stress β=−0.72 (p<0.01)).

CONCLUSION: Efforts to ensure family life happiness for children are suggested for their better mental health in middle-age. To this end, family-centered approaches are recommended in occupational therapy for children.


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