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Childhood Living Conditions, Socioeconomic Position in Adulthood, and Cognition in Later Life: Exploring the Associations
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI). Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
2009 (English)In: The journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences, ISSN 1079-5014, E-ISSN 1758-5368, Vol. 64, no 6, 750-757 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives This study examined the association between childhood living conditions, socioeconomic position in adulthood, and cognition in later life. Two questions were addressed: Is there an association between childhood living conditions and late-life cognition, and if so, is the association modified or mediated by adult socioeconomic position?

Methods Nationally representative data of the Swedish population aged 77 years and older were obtained from the 1992 and 2002 Swedish Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old (SWEOLD). Cognition was assessed with an abbreviated version of the Mini-Mental State Examination scale. Childhood living conditions were assessed by self-reports of childhood living conditions.

Results The results showed independent associations between conflicts in the household during childhood, father's social class, education, own social class in adulthood, and cognition in later life. Exposure to conflicts during childhood, having a father classified as a manual worker, low education, and/or being classified as a manual worker in adulthood was associated with lower levels of cognition in old age. There seemed to be no modifying effect of adult socioeconomic position on the association between childhood conditions and cognition in later life.

Discussion This suggests the importance of childhood living conditions in maintaining cognitive function even in late life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 64, no 6, 750-757 p.
Keyword [en]
Childhood conditions, Cognition, Life course, Old age, Socioeconomic position
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-27629DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbp029ISI: 000271718200009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-27629DiVA: diva2:216601
Available from: 2009-05-11 Created: 2009-05-11 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Blood on the tracks: Life-course perspectives on health inequalities in later life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Blood on the tracks: Life-course perspectives on health inequalities in later life
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of the thesis was to explore social inequalities in: a) mortality during mid-life, b) health in later life, and c) old-age mortality, from a life-course perspective. The studies are based on longitudinal Swedish survey and registry data.

The results from Study I showed substantial inequalities in health, based on social class and gender, among older adults (aged 55+). Moreover, the magnitude of these inequalities did not change during the period 1991-2002.

The results from Study II revealed social inequalities in cognitive functioning among the oldest old (aged 77+). Social turbulence and social class during childhood, education and social class in adulthood were all independently associated with level of cognitive functioning in later life.

In Study III, social inequalities in mortality during mid-life (i.e., between ages 25 and 69) were explored. The results showed that childhood living conditions were associated with marital status and social class in adulthood and that, in turn, these conditions were associated with mid-life mortality. Thus, the results suggested that childhood disadvantage may serve as a stepping stone to a hazardous life-course trajectory.

Study IV explored the association between income in mid-life, income during retirement and old-age mortality (i.e., mortality during retirement). The results showed that both income during mid-life and income during retirement were associated with old-age mortality. Mutually adjusted models showed that income in mid-life was more important for women’s mortality and that income during retirement was more important for men’s.

Thus, the results of the present thesis suggest that there are substantial social inequalities in the likelihood of reaching old age, as well as in health and mortality among older adults. These inequalities are shaped by differential exposures throughout the life-course that affect health in later life both through direct effects and through processes of accumulation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Social Work, Stockholm University, 2010. 67 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 27
Keyword
Sweden, life-course, health, socioeconomic, childhood
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38848 (URN)978-91-7447-062-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-14, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveaplan, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished  and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-05-22 Created: 2010-04-30 Last updated: 2012-03-07Bibliographically approved

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Fors, StefanLundberg, Olle
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