Article

Health selection and the process of social stratification: The effect of childhood health on socioeconomic attainment

School of Social and Family Dynamics, Center for Population Dynamics, Arizona State University, PO Box 4802, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.72). 01/2007; 47(4):339-54. DOI: 10.1177/002214650604700403
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study investigates whether childhood health acts as a mechanism through which socioeconomic status is transferred across generations. The study uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to track siblings and to estimate fixed-effects models that account for unobserved heterogeneity at the family level. The results demonstrate that disadvantaged social background is associated with poor childhood health. Subsequently, poor health in childhood has significant, direct, and large adverse effects on educational attainment and wealth accumulation. In addition, childhood health appears to have indirect effects on occupational standing, earnings, and wealth via educational attainment and adult health status. The results further show that socioeconomic health gradients are best understood as being embedded within larger processes of social stratification.

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    • "According to the health selection hypothesis, poor health in childhood may result in reduced initial accumulation of human capital and in lower subsequent socioeconomic status in adulthood, thus partly explaining social inequalities in health (Haas, 2006; Palloni et al., 2009). Possible mechanisms include reduced school performances related to lost time of schooling or lessened projections in long-term educational goals. "
    Revue d Épidémiologie et de Santé Publique 05/2015; 63. DOI:10.1016/j.respe.2015.03.030 · 0.66 Impact Factor
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    • "It has been meta-analytically shown that intelligence at previous ages can be considered as a powerful predictor of socioeconomic success (Strenze, 2007). Evidence has also been found for poor health in childhood as a negative predictor of educational attainment , and indirectly a negative predictor of occupational attainment (Haas, 2006). Besides these predictive pathways towards socioeconomic success, both health and intelligence at early ages seem to predict the same construct at later ages. "
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    • "They argue that education provides problem solving skills and a sense of self-efficacy that they call " learned effectiveness " which characterizes a lifestyle in which the prioritization and knowledge of healthy choices is expected. On the other end of this continuum, some have argued that health causes education, as individuals with the poorest health are less likely than more healthy individuals to successfully accomplish on time educational goals (Haas, 2006; Palloni et al., 2009). Health shocks to children (Currie and Stabile, 2003) or parents (Boardman et al., 2012) constrain children's success in school, which may lead to reduced likelihood of graduation because of low exam scores (Case et al., 2005). "
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