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Intergenerational patterns of mental health problems: the role of childhood peer status position
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Umeå University, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7576-9410
2019 (English)In: BMC Psychiatry, ISSN 1471-244X, E-ISSN 1471-244X, Vol. 19, no 1, article id 286Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Past research has established the intergenerational patterning of mental health: children whose parents have mental health problems are more likely to present with similar problems themselves. However, there is limited knowledge about the extent to which factors related to the child’s own social context, such as peer relationships, matter for this patterning. The aim of the current study was to examine the role of childhood peer status positions for the association in mental health across two generations.

Methods

The data were drawn from a prospective cohort study of 14,608 children born in 1953, followed up until 2016, and their parents. Gender-specific logistic regression analysis was applied. Firstly, we examined the associations between parental mental health problems and childhood peer status, respectively, and the children’s mental health problems in adulthood. Secondly, the variation in the intergenerational patterning of mental health according to peer status position was investigated.

Results

The results showed that children whose parents had mental health problems were around twice as likely to present with mental health problems in adulthood. Moreover, lower peer status position in childhood was associated with increased odds of mental health problems. Higher peer status appeared to mitigate the intergenerational association in mental health problems among men. For women, a u-shaped was found, indicating that the association was stronger in both the lower and upper ends of the peer status hierarchy.

Conclusions

This study has shown that there is a clear patterning in mental health problems across generations, and that the child generation’s peer status positions matter for this patterning. The findings also point to the importance of addressing gender differences in these associations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 19, no 1, article id 286
Keywords [en]
Birth cohort, Intergenerational patterning, Longitudinal, Mental health, Peer relationships, Sweden
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-173503DOI: 10.1186/s12888-019-2278-1ISI: 000486723000009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-173503DiVA, id: diva2:1354241
Projects
Reproduction through linked lives (RELINK)
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2016–07148Available from: 2019-09-24 Created: 2019-09-24 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved

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