Association between early life circumstances and depressive symptoms among Chinese older adults: Results from China health and retirement longitudinal study: Early life circumstances and depression.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: A growing body of literature suggests that early life circumstances can influence mental health throughout the lifespan. However, how these early life circumstances cumulatively contribute to depression in old age is not completely understood. The aim of this study was to examine the associations of eight factors with depression among community-dwelling older adults. METHODS: Data were from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study. We included 8,239 community-dwelling individuals who were ≥60 years, completed the life history questionnaire, and had assessment of depression. An early life disadvantage index was established using risk factors that were significantly associated with depression. Logistic regression was used to examine the association of each early life risk factor and the index with depression. RESULTS: Of 8239 individuals included, 2,055 (24.9%) had depression. In bivariate analysis, each of eight early life risk factors was significantly associated with depression. Except for maternal and paternal education, all risk factors persisted to be associated with depression after multivariable adjustment. In the multivariable-adjusted model, a one-point higher in the early life disadvantage index (range: 0-6) was associated with a 45% (95% CI: 37%, 53%) higher odds of depression. LIMITATIONS: Depressive symptoms were measured in our study only by the CES-D scale. Some early life experiences might not be fully reliable due to recall bias. CONCLUSION: There was a strong association between early life environments and depressive symptoms among Chinese community-dwelling older adults. Adverse early life circumstances could contribute cumulatively to depression in old age.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chen, Y; Guo, M; Xu, H; Liu, Z; Barry, LC; Wu, C

Published Date

  • September 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 292 /

Start / End Page

  • 345 - 351

PubMed ID

  • 34139407

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-2517

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jad.2021.05.067


  • eng

Conference Location

  • Netherlands