Exposure to family arguments during adolescence has a lasting impact on an individual's mental health and functioning as an adult, according to a study published in the March edition of The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
The longitudinal study, led by Simmons School of Social Work Professor Helen Reinherz, shows adolescents who reported increased arguments at age 15, compared with their peers, had an elevated risk of major depression, alcohol abuse/dependence, drug dependence, and adult antisocial behaviors at age 30. These participants also had a twofold risk for being unemployed as adults.
"It was no surprise that we found long-term effects of exposure to physical violence, but the documentation of the potential lasting influence of verbal conflict is significant," said Reinherz. "We believe that exposure to increased family arguments in adolescence served as an important marker for impaired functioning into adulthood."