Childhood Poverty and Depressive Symptoms for Older Adults in Mexico: A Life-Course Analysis

Jacqueline M. Torres, Rebeca Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study applies life-course theories of latent (direct), pathway (indirect) and conditional effects in an analysis of childhood poverty on later-life depressive symptoms among older adults in Mexico. Data are from the 2001 Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), a nationally representative sample of older adults born before 1951 (n = 8696). Respondents had a mean of 3.6 past-week depressive symptoms and 71 % had no household sanitation facilities before age 10; this measure served as a proxy for childhood poverty. Childhood poverty is significantly related to scores on an adapted 9-item CES-D scale in the full model (b = 0.27, p<0.001). This effect is partially mediated by four adult socio-economic status measures, although decomposition analysis reveals the mediation effect to be primarily driven by educational achievement. These findings have important implications for Mexico's rapidly aging population as well as efforts for childhood poverty reduction and gains in education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-337
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Childhood socio-economic status
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Life-course
  • Mexico
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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