The Multi-Generational Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Mortality

Joseph Wolfe, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Shawn Bauldry, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Eliza Pavalko, Indiana University
Melissa Hardy, Pennsylvania State University

This study draws on data from the National Longitudinal Survey (NLS) Older Men Cohort linked with death records to analyze multigenerational effects of SES on mortality. In particular, the study simultaneously examines (1) the long arm perspective, which emphasizes early-life socioeconomic conditions as a cause of mortality by way of biological programming and cumulative disadvantage, (2) the status attainment perspective, which emphasizes one’s own attainment as a central determinant of mortality, and (3) the social foreground perspective, which emphasizes the advantages in later life of those who have higher SES adult children. Preliminary results indicate that each generation’s attainment is to varying degrees associated with one’s mortality. We find that adult children’s education and occupational status becomes an important resource net of one’s socioeconomic resources. Parents’ SES, on the other hand, had the smallest effect on mortality, which was generally reduced to non-significance after controlling for one’s attainment.

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