Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Raegan Murphy & Sharon Lambert
Fifth Irish Street Medicine Symposium 27 th and 28 th September, Cork 2019
Early childhood adversity and later life outcomes’
Cork, Ireland
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Numerous studies evidence the link between early childhood adversity and later life outcomes. Past and on-going research in the School of Applied Psychology at UCC adds to this growing body of literature. Our research has shown that the higher the level of adversity experienced before the age of 18, the higher the likelihood of individuals experiencing negative later life outcomes. These outcomes include increased likelihoods of partaking in illicit drugs (more specifically, polysubstance abuse), consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, partaking in loss-sustaining gambling activities, increased likelihood of committing crimes and engaging in violent behaviours towards family members. Higher levels of childhood adversity are associated with higher reports of mental health disorders, suicidal ideation and higher levels of imprisonment. Looking more closely at life outcomes for people experiencing homelessness in Cork, our results show that Individuals experiencing homelessness who also score higher childhood adversity inject illicit substances at earlier ages, take unprotected risks, evidence higher rates of treatments, overdose more frequently, self-harm more frequently and experience more domestic violence. People experiencing homelessness who are in receipt of job seekers allowance are more likely than those in receipt of disability allowance to enjoy better health, females are likely to experience poorer health overall than males, there are now more younger people experiencing homelessness than older people, more females are diagnosed with depression and anxiety than males, and those with an anxiety diagnoses are more likely to rate their health as ‘poor’, males are more likely to be diagnosed with psychosis than females and in turn they were also more likely to be on disability allowance. Lastly, our research has also shown that front-line workers carry a heavy psychological burden known as a ‘contagion effect’ where the trauma experienced by service users is often vicariously experienced by employees working to assist them. We discuss these findings in more detail and suggest possible ameliorative steps that can be taken in response to this current homeless crisis.