A few researchers have done excellent studies of effect of adversity during childhood on health in later life. However, that work has been limited, both in the number of studies and in research methods. Sarah Laditka and I are working on research in this area, looking at several indicators of adversity during childhood, such as living in poverty.
You can find one of our papers on this at the Journal of Aging and Health.
Objective:We studied the association of childhood adversity with adult functional status. Method:With data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the 2014 Childhood Retrospective Circumstances Study (1992-2013; N = 6,705; 62,885 person-years), we estimated functional status transition probabilities associated with childhood adversity, with multinomial logistic Markov models adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and education. Microsimulation then estimated functional status outcomes throughout adulthood for African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White women and men. Results: Adversity was significantly associated with functional status. Of White women without adversities, 2.3% had difficulty doing activities of daily living at age 30, compared with 8.2% with high adversity; comparable results were 3.7% and 8.7% for African Americans, 0.9% and 11.5% for Hispanics (all p < .01). Patterns were similar at other ages, for men, and when adjusted for midlife health conditions and health behavior. Discussion:Childhood adversity may substantially increase functional impairment throughout adult life.