Disadvantages during childhood can lead to persistent pain and depression—conditions that bring many clients to massage therapy—in adulthood.

A study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln sociologist Bridget Goosby examined how childhood socioeconomic disadvantages and maternal depression increase the risk of major depression and chronic pain in working-aged adults.

“Childhood conditions that are strongly correlated with the risk of experiencing depression in adulthood, may, in fact, also be similar to the childhood conditions that are correlated with chronic pain in adulthood,” Goosby said in a university press release.

Goosby said she was surprised to find experiencing hunger in childhood can lead to chronic pain and depression in adulthood.

“The most robust child socioeconomic condition was experiencing hunger,” Goosby said. “Kids who missed meals have a much higher risk of experiencing pain and depression in adulthood.”

Depression and chronic pain are experienced by 44 percent of working-aged adults, she added.

The study, “Early Life Course Pathways of Adult Depression and Chronic Pain,” is forthcoming in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

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