Childhood socioeconomic position and disability in later life: results of the health and retirement study.
ABSTRACT We used a life course approach to assess the ways in which childhood socioeconomic position may be associated with disability in later life.
We used longitudinal data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study (1998-2006) to examine associations between parental education, paternal occupation, and disabilities relating to activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
Respondents whose fathers had low levels of education and those whose fathers were absent or had died while they were growing up were at increased risk of disability in later life, net of social, behavioral, and pathological health risks in adulthood. Social mobility and health behaviors were also important factors in the association between low childhood socioeconomic position and ADL and IADL disabilities.
Our findings highlight the need for policies and programs aimed at improving the well-being of both children and families. A renewed commitment to such initiatives may help reduce health care costs and the need for people to use health and social services in later life.
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ABSTRACT: Early exiting from the labor force and into disability pension (DP) represents a major social problem in Sweden and elsewhere. We examined how being asymmetric (A-SGA) or symmetric (S-SGA) small for gestational age predicts transitioning into DP. We analyzed a longitudinal sample of 8,125 men and women from the Stockholm Birth Cohort, born in 1953 and not on DP in 1990. The SBC consists of data from various sources, including self-reported information and from administrative registers. The follow-up period was from 1991-2009. Yearly information on the receipt of DP benefits from register data was operationalized as a dichotomous variable. 13 percent of the sample moved into DP during follow-up. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine whether disadvantageous fetal growth - A-SGA and S-SGA - predicted DP. Men and women born A-SGA had a substantially increased hazard of DP. The full model suggested a hazard ratio of 1.68 (CI: 1.11- 2.54), only being affected slightly by adulthood conditions. Several childhood conditions were also associated with DP. Such factors, however, mainly affected DP risk through adulthood conditions. The effect of SGA on DP appeared particularly strong among individuals from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. The evidence presented suggests that being A-SGA influences the risk of DP, independent of childhood and adulthood conditions, and similarly for men and women. Due to A-SGA being rather infrequent, reducing the occurrence of A-SGA would, however, only have a marginal impact on the stock of DP pensioners. For the individual affected, the elevation in the risk of DP was nevertheless substantial. Other childhood conditions exercised a larger influence on the stock of DP recipients, but they mostly operated through adulthood attainment. The importance of socioeconomic resources in childhood for the long term health consequences of SGA is interesting from a policy perspective and warrants further research.Social Science [?] Medicine 01/2013; 119. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.11.052 · 2.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We examined the associations between childhood socioeconomic status and adulthood height with functional limitations in old age. Data were obtained from the baseline survey of the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study 2010, a population-based cohort of people aged ≥65 years enrolled from 27 municipalities across Japan (N = 15,499). People aged 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, and ≥80 years experienced the end of World War II when they were aged 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, and ≥15 years, respectively. Subjective socioeconomic status during childhood and current height were obtained by self-report through questionnaire in 2010. Higher-level functional capacity was assessed using a validated questionnaire scale. Poisson regression with robust variance estimator was employed to determine the association between childhood subjective socioeconomic status, height, and functional limitations. Lower childhood subjective socioeconomic status was consistently associated with higher prevalence rate ratio of limitations in higher-level functional capacity, regardless of age cohort. Height was associated with functional limitation only among the group aged 70-74 years: taller (≥170cm for men and ≥160cm for women) people were 16% less likely to report functional limitation in comparison with shorter (<155 cm for men and <145 cm for women) individuals in the fully adjusted model (prevalence rate ratio: 0.84, 95% confidence interval: 0.74-0.96). Low childhood subjective socioeconomic status had a robust association with functional limitation regardless of age cohort. In addition, those who lived through World War II before they reached puberty and attained shorter height were more likely to report functional limitations in old age.The Journals of Gerontology Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 11/2013; 69(7). DOI:10.1093/gerona/glt189 · 4.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Studies of the early-life origins of adult physical functioning and mortality have found that childhood health and socioeconomic context are important predictors, often irrespective of adult experiences. However, these studies have generally assessed functioning and mortality as distinct processes and used cross-sectional prevalence estimates that neglect the interplay of disability incidence, recovery, and mortality. Here, we examine whether early-life disadvantages both shorten lives and increase the number and fraction of years lived with functional impairment. We also examine the degree to which educational attainment mediates and moderates the health consequences of early-life disadvantages. Using the 1998-2008 Health and Retirement Study, we examine these questions for non-Hispanic whites and blacks aged 50-100 years using multistate life tables. Within levels of educational attainment, adults from disadvantaged childhoods lived fewer total and active years, and spent a greater portion of life impaired compared with adults from advantaged childhoods. Higher levels of education did not ameliorate the health consequences of disadvantaged childhoods. However, because education had a larger impact on health than did childhood socioeconomic context, adults from disadvantaged childhoods who achieved high education levels often had total and active life expectancies that were similar to or better than those of adults from advantaged childhoods who achieved low education levels.Demography 11/2013; 51(2). DOI:10.1007/s13524-013-0261-x · 1.93 Impact Factor