Background Previous studies have shown that neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation is related to mental health problems, with chronic stress responses as one possible biopsychological pathway; however, less is known about the possible long-term effects of neighbourhood deprivation throughout the life course. The aim of this study was to examine the association between neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation in early childhood and perceived stress in early adulthood.
Methods Data from the, Danish National Health Survey 2017 in which Cohen’s 10-item Perceived Stress Scale was measured (range 0–40) were used to follow a cohort consisting of all survey respondents aged 20–24 years born between 1992 and 1996. The respondents were linked to Danish register data, including data on the parent(s) with whom the respondents lived, to measure family-level socioeconomic characteristics, parental mental health problems and neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation at age 3 for each respondent. Furthermore, the respondents were linked to georeferenced neighbourhoods. Linear mixed models were used to estimate the association between neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation at age 3 and perceived stress at age 20–24.
Results A 1 SD increase in neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation in early childhood was associated with a 0.59-point increase in perceived stress in early adulthood (95% CI 0.41 to 0.77). The association was attenuated but remained statistically significant after controlling for individual and family characteristics and neighbourhood socioeconomic deprivation in early adulthood (coef 0.26, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.46).
Conclusion The findings suggest that children growing up in more socioeconomically deprived neighbourhoods may be prone to higher levels of perceived stress later in life.
- MENTAL HEALTH
- Life course epidemiology
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
- COHORT STUDIES
- Health inequalities
Data availability statement
Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available. Data were stored and processed in the data secure remote server environment of Statistics Denmark. The data used in the present paper cannot be shared publicly due to legal and ethical restrictions pertaining to Danish register-based data.
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