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


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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    • "Two competing hypotheses have been developed to explain marriage advantages in health. The first, marriage selection, posits that selection factors, such as greater socioeconomic status or better health, place individuals at higher risk of being married and of exhibiting health advantages (Goldman, 1993; Haas, 2006, 2008). Accounting for the endogeneity of marriage is therefore necessary to produce an unbiased estimate of the effect of marriage on health. "
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    ABSTRACT: Marriage is a social tie associated with health advantages for adults and their children, as lower rates of preterm birth and low birth weight are observed among married women. In this study the author tested 2 competing hypotheses explaining this marriage advantage—marriage protection versus marriage selection—using a sample of recent births to single, cohabiting, and married women from the National Survey of Family Growth, 2006–2010. Propensity score matching and fixed effects regression results demonstrated support for marriage selection, as a rich set of early life selection factors account for all of the cohabiting–married disparity and part of the single–married disparity. Subsequent analyses demonstrated that prenatal smoking mediates the adjusted single–married disparity in birth weight, lending some support for the marriage protection perspective. The study's findings sharpen our understanding of why and how marriage matters for child well-being and provide insight into pre-conception and prenatal factors describing intergenerational transmissions of inequality via birth weight.
    Journal of Marriage and Family 10/2015; DOI:10.1111/jomf.12257 · 3.01 Impact Factor
    • "Thus, collecting retrospective life course data, reinforced by event history calendars to aid accurate recall (Belli et al. 2007; Berney and Blane 1997), enables us to analyze processes and pathways relevant to this early baby boomer cohort that may otherwise have remained unexplored. In addition, past research (e.g., Haas 2007; Hardt et al. 2006; Havari and Mazzonna 2011) has provided evidence of the reliability and validity of retrospective data. It is also possible that other indicators of childhood and adult exposures not collected in this study, such as parental education and family income in childhood, may have stronger predictive validity than parental occupation for well-being outcomes later in life. "
    Journal of Population Ageing 08/2015; DOI:10.1007/s12062-015-9132-0
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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 · 0.59 Impact Factor
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