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The Link Between Parent and Child Mental Health in Colorado

In a first-of-its-kind analysis, the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) used adult and child state survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) to measure the relationship between parental mental health and child mental health outcomes.
Published: December 1, 2015 | Updated: June 5, 2017

 

Childhood experiences have a lasting impact on a child’s development and can shape health outcomes later in life. A stable relinking coverlationship with a parent is especially critical during this time. And a parent’s own mental health is important for this relationship. In a first-of-its-kind analysis, the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) used adult and child state survey data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) to measure the relationship between parental mental health and child mental health outcomes. CHI analyzed data on child mental health based on whether a parent had depression, either as a current or previous diagnosis. 

Our analysis found that children who have a parent with depression are more than twice as likely as children of a parent with no history of depression to:

  • Experience overall poor mental health.
  • Need mental health care.
  • Receive a mental health diagnoses.
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