News Release 

Association of positive childhood experiences and adult mental health, depression

JAMA Pediatrics

Bottom Line: Reporting more positive childhood experiences was associated with a lower likelihood of adult depression or poor mental heath, or both, and a greater likelihood of adults reporting social and emotional support even after accounting for adverse childhood experiences in this observational study based on survey data representative of the entire population of adults in Wisconsin in 2015. Positive childhood experiences included seven interpersonal experiences with family, friends and in school or in the community, such as a sense of belonging, feeling protected and the ability to express feelings. Limitations of the study include its inability to confirm causal effects and that the adult population of Wisconsin is less diverse than the United States as a whole. Study authors suggest positive childhood experiences could have lifelong effects on mental and relational health.

Author: Christina Bethell, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and coauthors


Editor's Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.


Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Christina Bethell, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., email Barbara Benham at The full study is linked to this news release.

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