A new analysis of data on U.S. teens born during the early 1980s ties slightly higher rates of adolescent smoking, drinking, arrests and thefts to macroeconomic conditions during the first year of life.
What was "striking for us was it basically went across all socioeconomic strata," said Dr. Seethalakshmi Ramanathan, the lead author of the study. "From a national level, it seems like everyone is affected."
Ramanathan's study focused on babies born around the time of the recessions of 1980-1981 and 1982, when unemployment rates around the nation ranged from 6.6 percent to 11.25 percent, but she said she wouldn't be surprised if the most recent recession also has a lasting impact.
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