Teen delinquency linked to infancy economy

Dec. 31, 2012 at 11:55 PM
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SYRACUSE, N.Y., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- High unemployment rates experienced during infancy were linked to subsequent behavioral problems later, U.S. researchers suggest.

Seethalakshmi Ramanathan of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University and colleagues examined the relationship between the high unemployment rates during and after the 1980 and 1981-1982 recession, and rates of subsequent adolescent substance use and delinquent behaviors.

The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, which included a group of 8,984 adolescents born from Jan. 1, 1980 through Dec. 31, 1984.

"The results demonstrate a strong correlation between the unemployment rate during infancy and subsequent behavioral problems," the study authors wrote in the study. "This finding suggests that unfavorable economic conditions during infancy may create circumstances that can affect the psychological development of the infant and lead to the development of behavioral problems in adolescence."

The study was published Online First by Archives of General Psychiatry.

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