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A parent's education ensures better mental health for children


New research is putting new attention on to the old notions of low socioeconomic cycles of status and depression. Researchers now suggest that depression in adulthood could be tied to a parent’s level of education? Work by Amelie Quesnel-Vallee suggests this might be the case.

Looking at 29 years’ worth of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), Quesnel-Vallee and co-author Miles Taylor, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Florida State University, attempted to find relationships between a parent’s educational level and their children’s mental health, education level, and household income.

Higher levels of parental education seems to indicate meant fewer mental health issues for their adult children. “However we also found much of that association may be due to the fact that parents with more education tend to have children with more education and better paying jobs themselves,” according to Quesnel-Vallee. “What this means is that the whole process of climbing up the social ladder that is rooted in a parent’s education is a crucial pathway for the mental health of adult children.”

Therefore, policies aimed at increasing educational opportunities for all, regardless of background, may help break the intergenerational cycle of low socioeconomic status and poor mental health and literally promote the next generation out of poor mental. An investment today is an investment in the next generation. “Children don’t get to choose where they come from. I think we have a responsibility to address health inequalities borne out of the conditions of early childhood,” said Quesnel-Vallee.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Journal Social Science & Medicine

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