A sad, yet fascinating new study published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine found that people who suffer from problems like depression and substance abuse in their youth, are “less likely to be married, attain less education and see their income reduced by about 20 percent over their lifetimes.”
The study, which followed families for a period of 40 years, was conducted by James P. Smith, corporate chair of Economics at Rand Corp. and Gillian C. Smith of Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. The authors were quick to point out that not everyone who suffered from youthful troubles was going to carry these problems into adulthood, but that they were 10 to 20 times more likely to. In addition, the article noted:
People who reported having psychological problems during childhood averaged $10,400 less income per year when compared to siblings who did not have similar problems. The lower income was partly a consequence of working an average of seven weeks fewer per year.
Given that troubled pasts, mental illness and substance abuse issues often play a role in the lives of offenders, such findings aren’t surprising.
The question is now that we have hard data, what will we do with it? Will this lead to more early intervention? Or result in better targetting resources to vulnerable groups and families? What do you think?