Article: From Child to Parent? The Significance of Children's Education for Their Parents' Longevity.Jenny Torssander[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In addition to own education and other socioeconomic resources, the education of one's children may be important for individual health and longevity. Mothers and fathers born between 1932 and 1941 were analyzed by linking them to their children in the Swedish Multi-generation Register, which covers the total population. Controlling for parents' education, social class, and income attenuates but does not remove the association between children's education and parents' mortality risk. Shared but unmeasured familial background characteristics were addressed by comparing siblings in the parental generation. In these fixed-effects analyses, comparing parents whose children had tertiary education with parents whose children completed only compulsory schooling (the reference group) yields a hazard ratio of 0.79 (95 % CI: 0.70-0.89) when the socioeconomic position of both parents is controlled for. The relationship is certainly not purely causal, but part of it could be if, for example, well-educated adult children use their resources to find the best available health care for their aging parents. I therefore introduce the concept of "social foreground" and suggest that children's socioeconomic resources may be an important factor in trying to further understand social inequalities in health.Demography 10/2012; · 1.93 Impact Factor
Anton Carl Jonas Lager, Jenny Torssander[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In 1949-1962, Sweden implemented a 1-y increase in compulsory schooling as a quasi-experiment. Each year, children in a number of municipalities were exposed to the reform and others were kept as controls, allowing us to test the hypothesis that education is causally related to mortality. We studied all children born between 1943 and 1955, in 900 Swedish municipalities, with control for birth-cohort and area differences. Primary outcome measures are all-cause and cause-specific mortality until the end of 2007. The analyses include 1,247,867 individuals, of whom 92,351 died. We found lower all-cause mortality risk in the experimental group after age 40 [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.93-0.99] but not before (HR = 1.03, 95% CI 0.98-1.07) or during the whole follow-up (HR = 0.98, 95% CI 0.95-1.01). After age 40, the experimental group had lower mortality from overall cancer, lung cancer, and accidents. In addition, exposed women had lower mortality from ischemic heart disease, and exposed men lower mortality from overall external causes. In analyses stratified for final educational level, we found lower mortality in the experimental group within the strata that settled for compulsory schooling only (HR = 0.94, 95% CI 0.89-0.99) and compulsory schooling plus vocational training (HR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.88-0.97). Thus, the experimental group had lower mortality from causes known to be related to education. Lower mortality in the experimental group was also found among the least educated, a group that clearly benefited from the reform in terms of educational length. However, all estimates are small and there was no evident impact of the reform on all-cause mortality in all ages.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(22):8461-6. · 9.68 Impact Factor
J Torssander, R Erikson[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Dimensions of the individual socioeconomic position-education, social class, social status and income-are associated with mortality. Inequalities in death also related to the social position of the household. It is, however, less clear how the socioeconomic position of one marital/cohabiting partner influences the mortality of the other partner. We examine the independent effect on mortality of own and partner's positions regarding these four socioeconomic factors. Register data on education, social class, social status and income of both marital/cohabiting partners were collected from the 1990 Census of the employed Swedish population aged 30-59 (N = 1,502,148). Data on all-cause mortality and deaths from cancer and circulatory disease for the subsequent period 1991-2003 were collected from the Cause of Death Register. Relative mortality risks for different socioeconomic groups were estimated by Cox regression. All-cause mortality of both men and women differs by women's education and status and by men's social class and income. For men, the wife's education is more important for the mortality risk than his own education when the man's social class is included in the model. For women, the husband's social class yields larger mortality differences than own occupational measures. Women's education and men's social class and income are particularly important for women's deaths from circulatory diseases. The partner's social position has a clear independent association with individual mortality, and women's education and men's social class seem to be particularly important. Suggested explanations of health inequality are not always compatible with the observed relationship between partners' social and economic resources and mortality.Journal of epidemiology and community health 10/2009; 63(12):992-8. · 3.04 Impact Factor
Robert Erikson, Jenny Torssander[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Mortality is strongly associated with education. We present relative death risks of men and women in 12 educational/ occupational groups in Sweden today, with a focus on individuals with higher education. Results from Cox regressions are reported for 12 educational groups with special emphasis on those with professional education, e.g. clerics, physicians, people with medical PhDs, and university teachers. The study is based on register data of the total Swedish population in the age group of 30-64 (n = 3,734,660). There is a considerable variation in mortality between educational groups. Men with compulsory education run a risk that is more than three times higher than that of professors outside medicine, and other educational groups fall in between. Medical doctors and physicians have relatively low death risks compared to those with compulsory education - less than 50% among men and less than 60% among women - although professors in medicine deviate by having higher risks than their colleagues in other subjects. Those with a theological exam show higher risks of dying during the follow-up period compared to others of a similar educational level. Professors outside medicine experience the lowest death risks of all identified groups. Men and women with a professional education have comparatively low death risks, particularly low among medical doctors and university employees, while the clergy seems to experience relatively higher death risks than others with a similar level of education. These patterns may reflect the effects of education as well as the selection of men and women to higher education.Scandinavian Journal of Public Health 04/2009; 37(3):227-31. · 1.39 Impact Factor
Article: Social class and cause of death.Robert Erikson, Jenny Torssander[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Previous studies have shown that causes of death differ in their relationship to social class, but we lack a more comprehensive description of this variation. The present study provides a detailed and extensive list of social class differences for a large number of specific causes of death. All deaths between 1991 and 2003 in Sweden were linked with information on household social class from 1990. Relative death risks and excess mortality in groups of causes according to the European shortlist were estimated separately for men and women in eight classes using Cox Regression. A clear mortality gradient among employees was found for the majority of causes, from low-relative death risks among higher managerial and professional occupations to relatively high risks for the unskilled working class. There is considerable variation in the strength of the association, from causes such as malignant melanoma, breast cancer and transport accidents among women, where no clear class differences were found. At the other extreme, mental and behavioural disorders, endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases and diseases of the respiratory system all show steep slopes for both men and women. Circulatory diseases and cancer together account for 15-20% of excess mortality. Exceptions to the general pattern--causes of death in which higher social classes are exposed to greater death risks or in which there is no mortality gradient--are practically non-existent. There is nevertheless significant variation in the strength of the class differences in specific causes.The European Journal of Public Health 07/2008; 18(5):473-8. · 2.73 Impact Factor
Research interests: Social stratification, mortality, families and households, intergenerational transmission of resources.
My current research focuses on how adult children’s socioeconomic resources and other structural conditions influence their ageing parents’ life chances.