Financial hardship has many long-term consequences for children. This study aims to explore whether it increases the risk for depression and financial hardship across the lifespan and the mechanisms through which it might do so. This includes associations with abuse and impacts such as stigma and shame. Path analysis was used to assess if childhood financial hardship predicted adult financial hardship and depression, if these associations were mediated by childhood feelings of shame, physical abuse and stigma and if stigma and physical abuse mediated the relationship between financial hardship and feelings of shame and the adult outcomes retrospectively in a community-based sample of women. Child/adolescent financial hardship predicted adult depression and was mediated by physical abuse, stigma and shame. Physical abuse and shame also mediated the relationship between child/adolescent and adult financial hardship. Targeting shameful feelings could be a key focus for interventions supporting families experiencing financial hardship and associated physical abuse of children.
Keywords: Depression, stigma, shame, financial hardship, parenting.