Abstract

IntroductionNumerous studies have examined the consequences of childhood adversity (CA) and socioeconomic status (SES) for health over the life course. However, few studies have examined the relation between childhood SES and CA as well as the influence of CA on adult SES. The objective of this study was to examine direct and indirect associations between childhood SES, CA and adult SES. MethodsParticipants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, (N = 6844) reported on nine CA experiences. Childhood SES was characterized as a composite measure of parental highest education level, median household income, and parental occupational status. Adult SES was characterized as composite measure of highest education level attained at age 37, median household income and occupation. ResultsIn mediation analyses, adjusted for age, race and sex pathways were noted in that lower child SES was associated with CAs and CAs were associated with lower adult SES. Furthermore, CAs partially mediated the relation between childhood SES and adult SES. The proportion mediated by CA was small and only noted among African-American (4%) and White participants (5%). ConclusionsChildhood SES is associated with CAs. In turn, CAs are associated with lower adult SES, independent of childhood SES supporting the notion that intervening on CAs early on in the lifecourse could influence health and wellbeing throughout the life course.

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