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Women who drop out of high school more likely to have depressed children

June 14, 2013

Researchers from McGill University, Montreal have found that children of women who dropped out of high school are two times more likely to experience a major bout of depression in early adulthood than children whose moms’ finished high school.

The study took into account factors such as parental depression, adversity in early life, and the child’s education and income as a young adult. After adjusting for these factors, the mother’s level of education was still associated with a major depressive episode for her young adult children. The father’s level of education had no impact on the child’s risk for depression in later life.

Researchers analyzed information from 1,267 participants between the ages of 12 and 24 years, sampled from the Statistics Canada National Population Survey. Subjects were first interviewed in 1994, followed for 12 years and then assessed for their risk of major depression when they were between 22 and 36 years of age.

Researchers speculated that women who are better educated may develop better life-coping skills and confidence, and serve as role models for their children.

The full article is available in print, in the May 2013 journal of Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. The abstract is available online on the Springer Link website.

A summary of the research is also available on the Science News website.

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