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Adult children's socioeconomic positions and their parents' mortality: a comparison of education, occupational class, and income
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2014 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 122, 148-156 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent research has shown that the parents of well-educated children live longer than do other parents and that this association is only partly confounded by the parent's own socioeconomic position. However, the relationships between other aspects of children's socioeconomic position (e.g., occupational class and economic resources) and parental mortality have not been examined. Using the Swedish Multi-generation Register that connects parents to their children, this paper studies the associations of children's various socioeconomic resources (education, occupation, and income) and parents' mortality. The models are adjusted for a range of parental socioeconomic resources and include the resources of the parents' partners. In addition to all-cause mortality, five causes of death are analyzed separately (circulatory disease mortality, overall cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer). 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 of the examined causes of death except prostate cancer. Breast cancer mortality is negatively related to offspring's education but not the mothers' own education. To conclude, children's education seems to be a key factor compared with other dimensions of socioeconomic position in the offspring generation. This finding suggests that explanations linked to behavioral norms or knowledge are more plausible than those linked to access to material resources. However, it is possible that children's education to a greater degree than class and income captures unmeasured parental characteristics. The cause-specific analyses imply that future research should investigate whether offspring's socioeconomic position is linked to the likelihood of developing diseases and/or the chances of treating them. A broader family perspective in the description and explanations of social inequalities in health that includes the younger generation may increase our understanding of why these inequalities persist across the life course.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 122, 148-156 p.
Keyword [en]
Socioeconomic factors, Mortality, Intergenerational, Child-parent, Cause of death, Education, Sweden
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110257DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.10.043ISI: 000345820600016OAI: diva2:770296
Available from: 2014-12-10 Created: 2014-12-10 Last updated: 2015-01-02Bibliographically approved

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Torssander, Jenny
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The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)
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