Cross-National Variation in the Prevalence and Long-Term Health Effects of Poor Childhood Health and Socioeconomic Disadvantage among Aging Cohorts

Steven A. Haas, Pennsylvania State University
Katsuya Oi, Pennsylvania State University

Cross-national investigations of health inequalities have sought to understand how the magnitude of socioeconomic gradients in health varies internationally and the role that different aspects of local institutional context play in exasperating or mitigating this variation. At the same time life-course/developmental perspectives have investigated the long-term impacts of childhood health insults and socioeconomic disadvantage and the role early life (and prenatal) exposures in the genesis of health gradients. The current paper seeks to synthesize these two complementary, though rarely integrated, lines of research. Using data from HRS, SHARE, ELSA, TILDA, MHAS, CRELES, and CHARLS we estimate cross-national variation in the prevalence and long-term health impacts of poor childhood health and socioeconomic disadvantage. Preliminary results suggest substantial heterogeneity in both the exposure to childhood insults among aging cohorts as well as the impacts these have on a variety of health outcomes later in life.

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Presented in Session 190: Life Course Approaches to Health and Mortality