Can parent’s education affect offspring’s mental health?

January 29th, 2012 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Jan 29 (IANS) It is quite possible that depression in adulthood could spring from a parent’s level of education, a Canadian study suggests.

Amelie Quesnel-Vallee from McGill University and co-author Miles Taylor, assistant professor of sociology at Florida State University, found that higher levels of parental education 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,” explained Quesnel-Vallee, the Journal Social Science & Medicine reported.

“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,” said Quesnel-Vallee, who with Taylor based their study on 29 years of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79).

These findings suggest that policies aimed at increasing educational opportunities for all, regardless of social background, may help break the intergenerational cycle of low socio-economic status and poor mental health (depression), according to a university statement.

“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,” added Quesnel-Vallee.

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