A miserable childhood is likely to result in greater levels of depression and anxiety in middle age. So suggests a recent study that followed over 7000 people born between 1950 and 1955. Undertaken by researchers at King's College, London, the study showed that children who had been described by teachers as 'miserable' or 'unhappy' were five times more likely to be sick and off-work in their forties.
Of course, such a study does not imply causality but, nonetheless, the connection is interesting. Nurture (or rather lack of it) as opposed to nature, especially as the study showed that those children who were physically unwell during childhood demonstrated no difference in rate of being sick in middle-aged.
I'd probably throw the findings of this paper in that my childhood was reasonably happy and my health is probably less than ideal now. How does this fit in with your experience?
If you want to know more, you can read the abstract for the paper from the British Journal of Psychiatry here and the BBC News article as detailed below.
Henderson, M., Hotopf, M., & Leon, D. A. (2009). Childhood temperament and long-term sickness absence in adult life. British Journal of Psychiatry, 194, 220-223.