Parental addictions during childhood linked to arthritis in adult offspring

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Parental addictions during childhood linked to arthritis in adult offspring
Parental addictions during childhood linked to arthritis in adult offspring

The children of parents who were addicted to alcohol or drugs while they were growing up are more likely to have arthritis, according to a study by the University of Toronto.

Researchers examined 13,036 adults and found that 20.4 percent had been diagnosed with arthritis by a medical professional. Out of this group, 14.5 percent of all respondents reported having at least parent who abused alcohol or drugs while their offspring who were under the age of 18 were living at home.

After adjusting for age, sex, and race, parental addictions were associated with 58 per cent higher odds of arthritis, said lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, professor and Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair in the University’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and the Department of Family and Community Medicine.

“We had anticipated that the adult offspring’s health behaviors such as smoking, obesity and alcohol consumption might explain the strong link between parental addictions and arthritis, however we did not find this to be the case,” said study co-author and recent Master of Social Work graduate, Jessica Liddycoat.

“Even after adjusting for these adult health behaviors, as well as income, education, a history of childhood maltreatment and mood and anxiety disorders, we found that parental addictions was still a statistically significant factor associated with 30 per cent higher odds of arthritis.”

Researchers say that more study is needed to nature of the relationship between arthritis in adulthood and parental addictions.

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