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Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 95–103

First Online: 11 November 2016Received: 19 April 2016Accepted: 30 October 2016


PurposeTo investigate whether low parental socioeconomic position SEP at birth is associated only with early-onset depressive symptoms in offspring.

MethodsThis prospective cohort study used data on 9193 individuals 4768 females, 4425 males from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Depressive symptoms during three age periods 10–12, 12–16, 16–20 years were assessed using the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire, and ICD-10 depression at age 18 was assessed using the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised.

ResultsLow SEP was associated with increased incidence rates of depressive symptoms in all age periods, with indicators of low standard of living showing the strongest associations. For instance, incidence rate ratios for material hardship were 1.75 95% CI 1.42–2.15 at 10–12 years, 1.36 1.16–1.61 at 12–16 years and 1.39 1.21–1.59 at 16–20 years. Low SEP was also associated with increased odds of ICD-10 depression at 18 years, ranging from OR = 1.20 95% CI 0.94–1.52 for manual social class to 1.74 1.35–2.24 for material hardship.

ConclusionsThere was no evidence that depressive symptoms can be -subtyped- by the age of onset, because the association with low SEP was evident for early- and later-onset symptoms. If socioeconomic inequalities in early life have long-term adverse impacts on mental health, policies addressing these inequalities could benefit the mental health of the population.

KeywordsSocioeconomic position Depression Depressive symptoms Cohort study ALSPAC Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1007-s00127-016-1308-2 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Carol Joinson - Daphne Kounali - Glyn Lewis


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