Mental health problems in childhood may manifest as depression and anxiety in adult life, a new study has revealed.
The study is based on over 8000 participants of the 1958 Birth Cohort, who were born during one week in March 1958, and whose health has subsequently been tracked.
The long-term mental health of the participants was reviewed during childhood at the ages of 7, 11, and 16, with the help of information from teachers and parents, and into adulthood at the ages of 23 and 33, based on personal interviews.
When participants turned 45, they were invited to discuss their working lives and mental health.
Researchers of the study found that living in rented accommodation, having a longstanding illness, no qualifications, and no partner were the factors associated with depression and anxiety in mid life.
And workplace stressors, including little control over decisions, low levels of social support, and high levels of job insecurity also caused the same conditions in mid life.
Researchers found that these stressors quadrupled the risk of depression and anxiety.
Internalising behaviours, usually defined as depression or lack of concentration, in early childhood and adulthood strongly predicted poor quality working life, with many work stressors.
Researchers suggest that mental health problems in early childhood and adulthood did not fully explain the mid life depression, but these could have a knock-on effect.
The study found that mental health problems in childhood could affect the ability to pass exams and gain qualifications, so blighting an individual's prospects of getting well-paid and satisfying work.
Researchers believe that people who have experienced mental illness early in their lives may also opt for less demanding, low status work, because it might be more manageable, but at the same time, less rewarding and more stressful.
The study is published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.