The long arm of childhood

The influence of early-life social conditions of men's mortality

Mark D Hayward, Bridget K. Gorman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

443 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increasingly, social scientists are turning to childhood to gain a better understanding of the fundamental social causes of adult mortality. However, evidence of the link between childhood and the mortality of adults is fragmentary, and the intervening mechanisms remain unclear. Drawing on the National Longitudinal Survey of Older Men, our analysis shows that men's mortality is associated with an array of childhood conditions, including socioeconomic status, family living arrangements, mother's work status, rural residence, and parents' nativity. With the exception of parental nativity, socioeconomic-achievement processes in adulthood and lifestyle factors mediated these associations. Education, family income, household wealth, and occupation mediated the influence of socioeconomic status in childhood. Adult lifestyle factors, particularly body mass, mediated the effects of family living arrangements in childhood, mother's work status, and rural residence. Our findings bring into sharp focus the idea that economic and educational policies that are targeted at children's well-being are implicitly health policies with effects that reach far into the adult life course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-107
Number of pages21
JournalDemography
Volume41
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004

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social factors
mortality
childhood
life situation
social status
child well-being
family income
educational policy
social scientist
health policy
Economic Policy
adulthood
occupation
parents
cause
evidence
education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography

Cite this

The long arm of childhood : The influence of early-life social conditions of men's mortality. / Hayward, Mark D; Gorman, Bridget K.

In: Demography, Vol. 41, No. 1, 01.02.2004, p. 87-107.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hayward, Mark D ; Gorman, Bridget K. / The long arm of childhood : The influence of early-life social conditions of men's mortality. In: Demography. 2004 ; Vol. 41, No. 1. pp. 87-107.
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