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  • 1.
    Stickley, Andrew
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, SCOHOST (Stockholm Centre for Health and Social Change).
    Koyanagi, Ai
    Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain / nstituto de Salud Carlos III, CIBERSAM, Madrid, Spain.
    Inoue, Yosuke
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.
    Leinsalu, Mall
    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.
    Childhood hunger and thoughts of death or suicide in older adults2018In: The American journal of geriatric psychiatry, ISSN 1064-7481, E-ISSN 1545-7214, Vol. 26, no 10, p. 1070-1078Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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