Study of Long-Term Effects of Psychological Concerns in Childhood Finds Consequences for Adults

When children experience one or more psychological issues, there are many potential side effects and consequences to monitor, as the issue can reach into nearly all areas of life and may have an impact on a child’s well-being. This impact may carry into adulthood, too, suggests a study recently based at the non-profit research organization RAND, which looked at the social and economic conditions experienced by adults who had grappled with a psychological concern as a child.

The research was based on an extensive long-term survey spanning forty years in which participants were asked various questions about their mental health and their general lifestyle and other demographic information. The survey included information from families, allowing researchers to make comparisons between adults who had experienced psychological difficulty as a child, and any siblings who had not shared such experiences. The results show that those children who were affected by depression and other issues during childhood were significantly more likely to earn less money each year, and they were also more likely to have a drug or alcohol abuse issue, more likely to have a shorter education, and more likely and to be unmarried.

While the researchers note that their work does not propose that all children who experience psychological concerns in their youth will necessarily grow up to have related issues, the likelihood of struggling with a number of socio-economic attributes is far greater for such children as compared to siblings who did not undergo similar experiences. The work highlights the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of mental health concerns, and also suggests that better support and assistance initiatives may be needed to help young adults recovering from these concerns achieve their goals in relationships, in education, and in the workplace.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Kendall


    May 17th, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    So thankful for the wonderful childhood that my family gave to me!

  • M.Miller


    May 17th, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    It just becomes so much more difficult for a person to recover from a psychological concern that he/she had during the childhood,isn’t it?Its not a bruise to heal and go away in a matter of days of weeks…psychological concerns have a deep impact on the persona nd especially so on a child who would just want to get rid of such disturbing thoughts and everything that comes with a psychological problem.

  • pietersen L.

    pietersen L.

    May 18th, 2010 at 12:22 AM

    Very interesting article…although I had a rough idea that whatever we experience in our childhood does have an influence later in life and especially so for unpleasant experiences,I did not know the effects can be this pronounced.I have a little daughter and I know now just how important it is to ensure that there is a smooth and stable family atmosphere to shape a good future life for her.

  • darrell


    May 18th, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    If we know how prolonged the effects can be from childhood psychological issues, then it’s all the more crucial to find and use effective treatments and diagnostic tools sooner rather than later. The introduction of psych evaluations into schools, alongside the usual physicals, would catch these children early.

  • Jim


    May 21st, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    I hope that those with the money to spend and the power to influence change are reading this piece. RAND had given them the research. Now let’s see some action to help children faster that need psychological help and give them a fair shot at having a great life.

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