Having a stressful childhood can significantly reduce people's life expectancy. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Kaiser Permanente Organisation studied 17,337 men and women to investigate the links between bad childhood experiences and health. The researchers defined eight different adverse childhood experiences: verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse with physical contact, having a battered mother, having a substance-abusing person in the household, having a mentally ill person in the household, having a household member who was incarcerated, or having one's parents separate or divorce. 69% of the study participants under the age of 65 reported at least one of these experiences while 53% of those over 65 did. Those people who reported six or more adverse experiences were 1.7 times more likely to die at 75 or younger and 2.4 times more likely to die at 65 or younger. The authors of the study thought that having a troubled childhood makes people more likely to develop anxiety and depression which they cope with by using tobacco and alcohol.
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