Are Infants that Grow Up in Recession-Ravaged Homes Likelier to Become Delinquents?

A study recently published in the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests that children adversely affected by economic downturns as infants may be likelier to engage in delinquent behaviors and substance abuse when they are older adolescents and young adults. Culling data from 1997’s National Longitudinal Study of Youth, researchers at the State University of New York’s Upstate Medical University examined a nationally representative sample of almost 9,000 young people born between 1980 and 1984. According to the study, infants exposed to a 1 percent deviation from regional unemployment rate average were found to have greater odds of using marijuana, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, as well as a greater likelihood than their cohorts of being arrested, affiliating with gangs or engaging in both petty or major theft. Researchers sought to examine the potential consequences of the 1980 and 1981 to 1982 recessions on adolescents, in particular the possibility that living in an economically-disadvantaged home during the timeframe was likelier to produce a young person involved in substance abuse or criminal activity. In late 1982, the national unemployment rate stood at 10.8 percent – the highest such rate in the United States since the Great Depression.

Cherie Miller: The Bank of Mom and Dad

As I sit down to write a check to cover son number three’s auto insurance payment, I realize my bank account is taking another hit. It’s not the first time, and I’m not the only one. Parents like us have quasi-adult children on economic life support. When we blended our families, my husband and I never intended to become the “Bank of Dad & Mom.” When Steve and I combined our seven sons into one family in 2001, the economy was strong. I thought it’d be a breeze to put my two oldest to work when we packed up our home in Chicago and moved south to Atlanta.