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From Child to Parent?: The Significance of Children's Education for Their Parents' Longevity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2013 (English)In: Demography, ISSN 0070-3370, E-ISSN 1533-7790, Vol. 50, no 2, 637-659 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In addition to own education and other socioeconomic resources, the education of one's children may be important for individual health and longevity. Mothers and fathers born between 1932 and 1941 were analyzed by linking them to their children in the Swedish Multi-generation Register, which covers the total population. Controlling for parents' education, social class, and income attenuates but does not remove the association between children's education and parents' mortality risk. Shared but unmeasured familial background characteristics were addressed by comparing siblings in the parental generation. In these fixed-effects analyses, comparing parents whose children had tertiary education with parents whose children completed only compulsory schooling (the reference group) yields a hazard ratio of 0.79 (95 % CI: 0.70-0.89) when the socioeconomic position of both parents is controlled for. The relationship is certainly not purely causal, but part of it could be if, for example, well-educated adult children use their resources to find the best available health care for their aging parents. I therefore introduce the concept of social foreground and suggest that children's socioeconomic resources may be an important factor in trying to further understand social inequalities in health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 50, no 2, 637-659 p.
Keyword [en]
Education, Mortality, Intergenerational, Child-parent relationship, Sweden
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89712DOI: 10.1007/s13524-012-0155-3ISI: 000316690300012OAI: diva2:620244


Available from: 2013-05-08 Created: 2013-05-06 Last updated: 2013-09-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Equality in Death?: How the Social Positions of Individuals and Families are Linked to Mortality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Equality in Death?: How the Social Positions of Individuals and Families are Linked to Mortality
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Socioeconomic positions of individuals are clearly associated with the chances of living a healthy long life. In four empirical studies based on Swedish population registers, two topics are examined in this thesis: The relationships between different indicators of social position and mortality, and the importance of family members’ socioeconomic resources for the survival of the individual.

The overall conclusion from the separate studies is that no single individual socioeconomic factor gives a complete picture of mortality inequalities. Further, the socioeconomic resources of partners and adult children are important in addition to the individual ones. The specific results from each study include that:

I education, social class, social status and income are, to various extent, independently associated with mortality risk. Education and social status are related to women’s mortality, and education, social class, and income to men’s mortality.

II one partner’s social position is related to the other partner’s survival, also when individual socioeconomic factors are statistically controlled for. In particular, men’s mortality is linked to their wives’ education and women’s mortality to their husbands’ social class.

III adult children’s education is related to their parents’ risk of dying, also when both parents’ socioeconomic resources are taken into consideration. Further, the association between the offspring’s level of education and parental mortality cannot be explained by charac­teristics that parents share with their siblings.

IV children’s social class and income are related to parental mortality, but not as strongly as the education of the children. There is no relationship between a mother’s own education and breast cancer mortality, while mothers seem to have better chances of surviving breast cancer if they have well-educated children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2013. 42 p.
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 89
Health inequality, mortality, socioeconomic factors, education, social class, social status, income, marital partner, intergenerational, child-parent relationship, cause of death, Sweden
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-94134 (URN)978-91-7447-773-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-11-08, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

At the time of doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Manuscript

Available from: 2013-10-17 Created: 2013-09-27 Last updated: 2013-12-10Bibliographically approved

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Torssander, Jenny
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