Examining Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Relationship between Early Life Conditions and Health in Later Life among Men
Taylor Hargrove, Vanderbilt University
Several recent studies have found a relationship between early life conditions and health in later life. Though prior studies have accumulated evidence of this relationship, less is known about racial and ethnic differences in the significance of early life conditions for health in adulthood, particularly among men. Using Waves 1-7 of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), I combine intersectionality and life course approaches to examine racial and ethnic differences in the relationship between childhood experiences and adult health among white, black, and Mexican American men (N=6,839). Results indicate that early life conditions are significant for self-rated health, functional limitations, and chronic conditions in adulthood primarily among white men. Childhood experiences do a poorer job predicting health in mid- to late-life for black and Mexican American men. Support for hypotheses linking childhood conditions and adult health also varies by race and ethnicity. Implications of these findings are further discussed.