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Childhood hunger and thoughts of death or suicide in older adults
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre for Health and Social Change).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1260-2223
Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain / nstituto de Salud Carlos III, CIBERSAM, Madrid, Spain.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9565-5004
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre for Health and Social Change). National Institute for Health Development, Tallinn, Estonia.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4453-4760
2018 (English)In: The American journal of geriatric psychiatry, ISSN 1064-7481, E-ISSN 1545-7214, Vol. 26, no 10, p. 1070-1078Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective There is little research on the effects of childhood hunger on adult mental health. This study examined the association between childhood hunger and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide in older adults. Design Data were analyzed from adults aged 60 and above collected during the Estonian Health Interview Survey 2006 (N=2455). Retrospective information was obtained on the frequency (never, seldom, sometimes, often) of going to bed hungry in childhood, and on the presence of recurrent thoughts of death or suicide in the past 4 weeks. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations between the variables. Results Experiencing hunger in childhood was common (37.6%) with 14.3% of the respondents stating that they often went to bed hungry. In a univariate analysis going to bed hungry either sometimes or often more than doubled the odds for thoughts of death or suicide. Although adjustment for a range of covariates (including physical diseases and depressive episode) attenuated the associations, in the fully adjusted model going to bed hungry sometimes continued to be associated with significantly increased odds for thoughts of death or suicide in older adults (OR = 1.74, 95% CI = 1.10–2.74; Wald χ2 = 5.7, df = 1, p = 0.017). Conclusion The findings of this study suggest that the effects of childhood hunger may be long lasting and associated with mental health and well-being even in older adults.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 26, no 10, p. 1070-1078
Keywords [en]
childhood, hunger, death ideation, suicide ideation, Estonia
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-35774DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2018.06.005ISI: 000445766200010PubMedID: 30076079Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85050695608OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-35774DiVA, id: diva2:1229049
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European StudiesAvailable from: 2018-06-29 Created: 2018-06-29 Last updated: 2018-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Stickley, AndrewKoyanagi, AiLeinsalu, Mall

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