Tough childhood impacts adulthood study finds
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Parents, take note. An adverse upbringing often impairs people's health in their adult years, especially for couples who have both had similar experiences leading to 'unfavourable living situation', a new study suggests.
The study indicated that the greater the number of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for the woman, the partner and the couple together, the worse their adult prospects turned out to be.
"When we studied couples where both partners stated they'd had a hard time as children, the connection between negative childhood experience and a relatively unfavourable living situation in adulthood became especially clear," said researcher Per Kristiansson from the Uppsala University.
For the study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the research team involved 818 mothers and their partners filled in a questionnaire one year after having a child together.
The ACEs the researchers focused on were both mental and physical abuses and neglect; sexual assault; and problematic situations in the family like criminal behaviour, substance abuse, violence, mental disorders and separations.
Individual ACEs were common among all respondents, and 11 per cent of the women and 9 per cent of their partners reported having four or more such experiences.
In 2 per cent of the couples, both individuals recounted at least four ACEs. If one person in a couple had undergone them, the other was more likely to have done so as well.
The greater the number of ACEs for the woman, the partner and the couple together, the worse their adult prospects turned out to be.
Several couples who had experienced many problems in childhood had strikingly more problems in adulthood than the others.