Experiencing adversity in childhood — such as growing up in a household where there was substance use, violence or mental illness — is linked with an increased risk of poor mental and physical health later in life, a new study concludes.
Researchers looked at eight types of childhood adversity. These included emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or growing up in a household where there was violence, substance use, mental illness, divorce or a household member in prison.
They found that compared to people who had no childhood trauma, those who experienced four or more adverse childhood events were almost three times more likely to have poor mental health, according to HealthDay. A person’s mental health was described as poor if they had been diagnosed with a long-term mental health condition or had recently taken antidepressants or sleeping medication.
Experiencing even one type of childhood adversity was linked with an increased risk of poor mental health, the researchers found. Two or more was associated with a greater risk of disability, and four or more with chronic physical health problems.