Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Children’s Resources and Parents’ Survival: The Value of Education, Class, Income, and Geographic Proximity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Recent research shows that parents’ survival is associated with their adult children’s education, net of parents’ own socioeconomic position. Why children’s education is linked to their parents’ longevity is, however, an unanswered question.

Utilising a multi-generation register that connects parents to children in the Swedish population, the first part of this paper examines the net associations of children’s various socioeconomic resources (education, occupation, and income) and parents’ mortality. In subsequent analyses of the role of children’s education, five causes of death are distinguished (circulatory disease mortality, overall cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer). The second part of the analysis focuses on the geographic distance between children and parents and how distance interacts with the association between children’s education and parents’ survival.

The results show net associations between all included indicators of children’s socioeconomic position and parents’ mortality risk, with the clearest association for education. Children’s education is significantly associated with all examined causes of deaths except prostate cancer. Breast cancer mortality is negatively related to offspring’s education but not the mothers’ own education. Lastly, distance to parents does not interact with the association between children’s education and parents’ mortality.

To conclude, children’s education seems to be a key factor in comparison to other dimensions of socioeconomic position in the offspring generation. This suggests that explanations that are linked to, e.g., behavioural norms or knowledge and support with health care contacts, are more plausible than, e.g., access to material resources. However, distance does not interact with this association, which may point towards non-causal explanations, i.e., children’s schooling captures unmeasured parental characteristics or circumstances. Alternatively, geographic factors do not prevent parents from benefitting from their adult children’s resources.

Keyword [en]
Health inequality, mortality, socioeconomic factors, child-parent relationship, geographical distance
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-94140OAI: diva2:651892
Available from: 2013-09-27 Created: 2013-09-27 Last updated: 2013-09-27
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

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Torssander, Jenny
By organisation
The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 78 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link