The socio-economic status of parents could have an effect on their children's mental health issues as grown-ups, latest research has suggested.
The new study, led by Amelie Quesnel-Vallee, a medical sociologist from McGill University and co-author Miles Taylor, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Florida State University, drew 29 years of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979.
Their team looked at pathways between a parent's education level and their children's education level, household income and depressive symptoms and found that more 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," Quesnel-Vallee said.
"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," she added.
These findings suggest that policies aimed at increasing educational opportunities for all, regardless of social background, may help break the intergenerational cycle of low socioeconomic status and poor mental health.
"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," said Quesnel-Vallee.
Their paper 'Socioeconomic Pathways to Depressive Symptoms in Adulthood: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979' was recently published in the Journal Social Science and Medicine.