Eric D. Widmer

von Arx, M., Cheval, B., Sieber, S., Orsholits, D., Widmer, E.D., Kliegel, M., ... & Cullati, S. (2019). The role of adult socioeconomic and relational reserves regarding the effect of childhood misfortune on late-life depressive symptoms. SSM-population health, 8, 100434.



Background:Childhood misfortune is associated with late-life depressive symptoms, but it remains an openquestion whether adult socioeconomic and relational reserves could reduce the association between childhoodmisfortune and late-life depressive symptoms.Methods:Using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), data from 8'357 individuals(35'260 observations) aged 5096 years and living in 11 European countries were used to examine associationsbetween three indicators of childhood misfortune (adverse childhood events, poor childhood health, andchildhood socioeconomic circumstances) and late-life depressive symptoms. Subsequently, we tested whetherthese associations were mediated by education, occupational position, the ability to make ends meet, and po-tential or perceived relational reserves; that is family members or significant others who can provide help in caseof need, respectively. Analyses were stratified by gender and adjusted for confounding and control variables.Results:Adult socioeconomic reserves partly mediated the associations between adverse childhood events, poorchildhood health and late-life depressive symptoms. The associations with the third indicator of childhoodmisfortune (childhood socioeconomic circumstances) were fully mediated by adult socioeconomic reserves inmen, and partly mediated in women. None of the associations were mediated by relational reserves. However,perceived relational reserves were associated with fewer late-life depressive symptoms.Conclusion:Childhood socioeconomic disadvantage can be mitigated more easily over the life course than ad-verse childhood events and poor childhood health, especially in men. Perceived relational reserves work pri-marily as a protective force against late-life depressive symptoms and may be particularly important in thecontext of the cumulative effect of childhood adversities

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