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Childhood poverty is linked to significant psychological difficulties in adulthood, according to a 15-year study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study notes previous research has also linked childhood poverty to negative physical health outcomes, including premature death and poor health in adulthood.

Childhood Poverty and Adult Mental Health

Researchers tracked 341 children for 15 years, assessing them at ages 9, 13, 17, and 24.

The tests assessed spatial memory of adult participants. Researchers say the ability to retain information can affect a person’s linguistic skills and overall achievement.

Using an unsolvable puzzle, researchers also assessed helplessness, which can undermine motivation and psychological health. Using standardized measures, researchers analyzed participants’ mental health. Blood pressure, stress hormones, and body mass index (BMI) tests approximated participants’ stress levels.

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published: 11 January 2017

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