Midlife Emotional, Physical and Substance Use Outcomes Following a Childhood in the Public Care System

Rachel Cocks

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Interest in the link between childhood adversity and long-term psychosocial and physical outcomes in adulthood has gained ever-increasing amounts of attention. Evidence to date suggests that those who have spent time in public care have higher levels of psychological distress at age 33. The current study uses longitudinal data from the 1958 National Child Development Study to examine the long-term outcomes for adults at age 50 who spent time in public care in childhood.

Linear regression and binary logistic regression models were used to understand if care status predicted a range of adult emotion, physical and substance use outcomes. These included malaise, physical functioning, mental health, quality of life, self-efficacy, life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, smoking status and alcohol use.

Being in care predicted higher levels of depression, poorer physical functioning and mental health, quality of life, life satisfaction and relationship satisfaction and greater likelihood of smoking at age 50 compared to those who had not spent time in care. These associations were evident even when controlling for a range of potential early-life confounding variables.

These findings are largely consistent with previous findings and suggest pervasive difficulties on later-life emotion, physical and smoking status for those who have spent time in public care.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Lewis, Gary, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018

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