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  • 1. Baranowska-Rataj, Anna
    et al.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics & Political Science, UK; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.
    Kolk, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    The effect of number of siblings on adult mortality: Evidence from Swedish registers for cohorts born between 1938 and 19722017In: Population Studies, ISSN 0032-4728, E-ISSN 1477-4747, Vol. 71, no 1, p. 43-63Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Demographic research has paid much attention to the impact of childhood conditions on adult mortality. We focus on one of the key aspects of early life conditions, sibling group size, and examine the causal effect of growing up in a large family on mortality. While previous studies have focused on low- or middle-income countries, we examine whether growing up in a large family is a disadvantage in Sweden, a context where most parents have adequate resources, which are complemented by a generous welfare state. We used Swedish register data and frailty models, examining all-cause and cause-specific mortality between the ages of 40 and 74 for the 1938–72 cohorts, and also a quasi-experimental approach that exploited multiple births as a source of exogenous variation in the number of siblings. Overall our results do not indicate that growing up in a large family has a detrimental effect on longevity in Sweden.

  • 2.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    A within-family analysis of birth order and intelligence using population conscription data on Swedish men2015In: Intelligence, ISSN 0160-2896, E-ISSN 1873-7935, Vol. 49, p. 134-143Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines the relationship between birth order and intelligence in Sweden. This research question has been of interest for decades, but only one study using a sibling comparison design has found that birth order has a negative effect on intelligence. The data used in this study is Swedish administrative register data, with data on cognitive ability drawn from the military conscription register for men born 1965 to 1977. Within-family comparison linear regression models are used to estimate the difference in cognitive ability by birth order amongst brothers. I find that there is a negative relationship between birth order and cognitive ability. This is consistent in sibling-group-size-specific analyses of sibling groups with two through to six children. Further analyses demonstrate that this negative relationship between birth order and intelligence is consistent in different socioeconomic status groups, and amongst individuals born in the 1960s and 1970s. Analyses of brothers in two-child sibling groups show that the relationship between birth order and intelligence varies by the birth interval. Second borns have a statistically significantly lower cognitive ability score if the birth interval is up to six years, but not if it is longer.

  • 3.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Birth Order and Educational Attainment: evidence from Fully Adopted Sibling Groups2015In: Intelligence, ISSN 0160-2896, E-ISSN 1873-7935, Vol. 48, p. 109-122Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study uses data on fully adopted sibling groups to test whether the explanation for the consistently observed negative effects of birth order are physiological or social in origin. Swedish administrative register data is used to construct full sibling data for cohorts born 1960 to 1982. Using a within-family comparison approach, I compare adopted siblings of different adopted birth order to one another to see whether birth order amongst adopted children (N=6,968) is associated with educational attainment by age 30, and the likelihood of having entered tertiary education by age 30. These same within-family comparison analyses are also performed on siblings in fully biologically related sibling groups (N=1,588,401). I find that there is a negative relationship between adopted birth order and both educational attainment and the likelihood of entering tertiary education in fully adopted sibling sets. These findings strongly suggest that differences in educational attainment by birth order are driven by intrafamily social dynamics. I also conduct additional analyses in fully adopted sibling groups where age order and adoption order are reversed to test whether there is evidence for tutoring by siblings. These results do not indicate clear support for any tutoring effect.

  • 4.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    The Birth Order Paradox: Sibling Differences in Educational AttainmentManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study uses population register data to examine the relationship between birth order and educational attainment in Sweden, and demonstrates that while the causal effect of birth order on educational attainment is negative, later born children actually perform better. The explanation for this finding is due to educational expansion in Sweden in the 20th century, which outweighs the negative causal effect of birth order. This is particularly true for women due to the fact that the rate of increasing educational enrolment has been greater for women than for men. These results also show that later borns in large families particularly benefit from educational expansion due to the longer average birth interval between the first and last child in large families. The difference between the negative causal effect and actual experience of birth order is likely to be contributing to the confusion regarding birth order effects in the literature.

  • 5.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    The Long-term Impact of Birth Order on Health and Educational Attainment2014Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This doctoral thesis examines the long-term impact of birth order on health, and educational attainment. Swedish register data is used to link individuals to their siblings, thereby allowing members of the sibling group to be compared to one another. This thesis consists of an introductory chapter summarizing empirical research on the relationship between birth order and educational attainment, intelligence, health, and personality, as well the theoretical frameworks that have been developed to explain those relationships. This introductory chapter is followed by four original empirical studies. The first two studies show that relative to first born siblings, later borns have lower physical fitness in late adolescence, and higher mortality in adulthood. The third study uses the Swedish registers to identify sibling groups that entirely consist of adopted individuals, and shows that the commonly observed negative relationship between birth order and educational attainment persists in these fully adopted sibling groups. These results suggest that birth order effects are likely explained by post-natal, social mechanisms within the family. Finally, the fourth study shows that even though later born siblings do worse than first borns in a fully adjusted statistical model, educational expansion in the 20th century has meant that later born siblings actually tend to have greater educational attainment and are more likely to attend university in comparison to older siblings within the same family.  

  • 6.
    Barclay, Kieron J.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    SEX COMPOSITION OF THE WORKPLACE AND MORTALITY RISK2013In: Journal of Biosocial Science, ISSN 0021-9320, E-ISSN 1469-7599, Vol. 45, no 6, p. 807-821Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study uses Swedish occupational register data to examine whether the proportion of men in administrative workplaces in the Swedish public service affects all-cause mortality risks amongst both males and females of working age. Using piecewise constant survival models to analyse occupational data from the Swedish administrative registers from 1995 to 2007, it was found that for males, a 1% increase in the proportion of males was associated with a 1.3% increase in mortality risk (hazard ratio, HR 1.013, 95% CI 1.007-1.020, p < 0.001), but no association was found for females (HR 1.004, 95% CI 0.996-1.012, p = 0.297). Adjustments were made for age, family status, education, occupational status, occupational segregation by sex, the total number of individuals in the workplace, level of government, region, period and variables reflecting the workplace structure by age, age by sex, occupation and education. A higher proportion of males may be related to (i) an increased exposure to risky health behaviours such as alcohol consumption and unhealthy dietary patterns, (ii) a tendency towards sickness presenteeism, and (iii) an increase in the levels of several well-established emotional stressors in the workplace, leading to an increased level of psychosocial stress. The findings and potential extensions of this research are discussed.

  • 7.
    Barclay, Kieron J.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Sex ratios at sexual maturity and longevity: Evidence from Swedish register data2013In: Demographic Research, ISSN 1435-9871, Vol. 29, p. 837-864Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: This study tests the recently proposed hypothesis that the contextual sex ratio at sexual maturity is related to longevity. Previous empirical research in the United States has shown that a higher proportion of males at the age of sexual maturity increases the risk of mortality for males both before and after the age of 65.

    Methods: I use Swedish administrative register data, linking the 1960 census to individual- level mortality data over the period 1960 to 2007. I calculate the sex ratio at two geographic levels, municipalities and parishes. Two different specifications of the sex ratio are calculated: males aged 18 to 27 over females aged 15 to 24, and males aged 18 to 22 over females aged 16 to 20. I conduct piece-wise constant survival analyses over the period from 1960 to 2007 to analyze the risk of mortality before age 65. I run separate analyses for males and females, using cohorts born in 1941 and 1942.

    Results: For males, the results generally show that for both males and females a higher proportion of males was associated with a lower relative risk of mortality before age 65. The results were not statistically significant.

    Conclusions: The lack of a consistent statistically significant association for either males or females, and the trend for males being in the opposite direction of what was hypothesized, suggests that support for the hypothesis in Sweden is very weak.

  • 8.
    Barclay, Kieron J.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    The birth order paradox: Sibling differences in educational attainment2018In: Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, ISSN 0276-5624, E-ISSN 1878-5654, Vol. 54, p. 56-65Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study uses population register data to examine the relationship between birth order and educational attainment in Sweden, and demonstrates that while the net effect of birth order on educational attainment is negative, later-born children often spend longer in education. The explanation for this finding is due to educational expansion in Sweden in the 20th century, which outweighs the negative causal effect of birth order for the affected cohorts. This is particularly true for women due to the fact that the rate of increasing educational enrolment has been greater for women than for men. These results also show that later-borns in large families particularly benefit from educational expansion due to the longer average birth interval between the first and last child in large families, meaning that the supply of educational opportunities increased to a greater extent in the intervening period. However, in periods where education is not expanding, later-born siblings continue to fare worse than first-borns.

  • 9.
    Barclay, Kieron J.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Edling, Christofer
    Rydgren, Jens
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Peer clustering of exercise and eating behaviours among young adults in Sweden: a cross-sectional study of egocentric network data2013In: BMC Public Health, ISSN 1471-2458, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 13, p. 784-Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Research suggests that the growing prevalence of obesity may be related to the influence of the health behaviours of peers. We look at clustering of exercise and eating behaviours amongst a previously unstudied group, young adults in Sweden. Previous research has mainly been conducted in the United States and Britain, countries that have relatively high rates of obesity. Methods: Using ego-alter dyads from the egocentric network data as the unit of analysis, we conduct logistic regressions to investigate the association between ego and alter exercise and eating behaviours. Results: Respondents have a significantly greater probability of engaging in regular exercise and eating healthily if a nominated peer also does so. Furthermore, the degree to which this behavior is shared is modulated by the strength of the relationship between the two individuals, with a greater probability of engaging in these behaviours observed when the relationship with the nominated peer is strong relative to when the relationship is weak. However, we find that ego-alter homogeneity in terms of gender and migration status was not associated with a significantly greater probability of behaving in a similar manner to a nominated peer. Furthermore, the status of the nominated peer as a relative or not did not impact the probability that the ego would engage in similar health behaviours to that alter. Conclusions: We observe strong associations between ego and alter health behaviours for young adults, consistent with previous research. Although we cannot draw causal inferences, these results suggest that the health behaviours of an individual's peers may play a role in shaping their own health behaviours.

  • 10.
    Barclay, Kieron J.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research Germany.
    Kolk, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Centre for Cultural Evolution. Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.
    Birth Intervals and Health in Adulthood: A Comparison of Siblings Using Swedish Register Data2018In: Demography, ISSN 0070-3370, E-ISSN 1533-7790, Vol. 55, no 3, p. 929-955Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A growing body of research has examined whether birth intervals influence perinatal outcomes and child health as well as long-term educational and socioeconomic outcomes. To date, however, very little research has examined whether birth spacing influences long-term health. We use contemporary Swedish population register data to examine the relationship between birth-to-birth intervals and a variety of health outcomes in adulthood: for men, height, physical fitness, and the probability of falling into different body mass index categories; and for men and women, mortality. In models that do not adjust carefully for family background, we find that short and long birth intervals are clearly associated with height, physical fitness, being overweight or obese, and mortality. However, after carefully adjusting for family background using a within-family sibling comparison design, we find that birth spacing is generally not associated with long-term health, although we find that men born after very long birth intervals have a higher probability of being overweight or obese in early adulthood. Overall, we conclude that birth intervals have little independent effect on long-term health outcomes.

  • 11.
    Barclay, Kieron J.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Scot, Kirk
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Lund University, Sweden.
    Workplace sex composition and ischaemic heart disease: A longitudinal analysis using Swedish register data2014In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 42, no 6, p. 525-533Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Aims: The aim of this study is to follow-up on previous research indicating that the sex composition of workplaces is related to a number of health outcomes, including sickness absenteeism and mortality. We test two hypotheses. The first is Kanter's theory of tokenism, which suggests that minority group members suffer from an increased risk of stress. Secondly, we test the hypothesis that workplaces with a higher proportion of men will have a higher incidence rate of ischaemic heart disease (IHD), as men are more likely to engage in negative health behaviours, and through peer effects this will result in a workplace culture that is detrimental to health over the long term. Methods: Large-scale, longitudinal Swedish administrative register data are used to study the risk of overnight hospitalization for IHD amongst 67,763 men over the period 1990 to 2001. Discrete-time survival analyses were estimated in the form of logistic regression models. Results: Men have an elevated risk of suffering from IHD in non-gender-balanced workplaces, but this association was only statistically significant in workplaces with 61-80% and 81-100% males. However, after adjusting for occupation no clear pattern of association could be discerned. No pattern of association was observed for women. Conclusions: This study suggests that the gender composition of workplaces is not strongly associated with the risk of suffering from IHD.

  • 12.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.
    Keenan, Katherine
    Grundy, Emily
    Kolk, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Myrskylä, Mikko
    Reproductive history and post-reproductive mortality: A sibling comparison analysis using Swedish register data2016In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 155, p. 82-92Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A growing body of evidence suggests that reproductive history influences post-reproductive mortality. A potential explanation for this association is confounding by socioeconomic status in the family of origin, as socioeconomic status is related to both fertility behaviours and to long-term health. We examine the relationship between age at first birth, completed parity, and post-reproductive mortality and address the potential confounding role of family of origin. We use Swedish population register data for men and women born 1932-1960, and examine both all-cause and cause-specific mortality. The contributions of our study are the use of a sibling comparison design that minimizes residual confounding from shared family background characteristics and assessment of cause-specific mortality that can shed light on the mechanisms linking reproductive history to mortality. Our results were entirely consistent with previous research on this topic, with teenage first time parents having higher mortality, and the relationship between parity and mortality following a U-shaped pattern where childless men and women and those with five or more children had the highest mortality. These results indicate that selection into specific fertility behaviours based upon socioeconomic status and experiences within the family of origin does not explain the relationship between reproductive history and post-reproductive mortality. Additional analyses where we adjust for other lifecourse factors such as educational attainment, attained socioeconomic status, and post-reproductive marital history do not change the results. Our results add an important new level of robustness to the findings on reproductive history and mortality by showing that the association is robust to confounding by factors shared by siblings. However it is still uncertain whether reproductive history causally influences health, or whether other confounding factors such as childhood health or risk-taking propensity could explain the association.

  • 13.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Kolk, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Birth order and mortality: a population-based cohort study2015In: Demography, ISSN 0070-3370, E-ISSN 1533-7790, Vol. 52, no 2, p. 613-639Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study uses Swedish population register data to investigate the relationship between birth order and mortality in adulthood over the ages 30 to 69 for Swedish cohorts born between 1938 and 1960, using a within-family comparison. The main analyses are conducted with discrete-time survival analysis using a within-family comparison, and the estimates are adjusted for age, mother's age at the time of birth, and cohort. Focusing on sibships ranging in size from two to six, we find that mortality risk in adulthood increases with later birth order. The results show that the relative effect of birth order is greater amongst women than amongst men. This pattern is consistent for all the major causes of death, but is particularly pronounced for mortality attributable to cancers of the respiratory system, and external causes. Further analyses where we adjust for adult socioeconomic status and adult educational attainment suggest that social pathways only mediate the relationship between birth order and mortality risk in adulthood to a limited degree.

  • 14.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Kolk, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Cultural Evolution. Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.
    Parity and Mortality: An Examination of Different Explanatory Mechanisms Using Data on Biological and Adoptive Parents2019In: European Journal of Population, ISSN 0168-6577, E-ISSN 1572-9885, Vol. 35, no 1, p. 63-85Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A growing literature has demonstrated a relationship between parity and mortality, but the explanation for that relationship remains unclear. This study aims to pick apart physiological and social explanations for the parity-mortality relationship by examining the mortality of parents who adopt children, but who have no biological children, in comparison with the mortality of parents with biological children. Using Swedish register data, we study post-reproductive mortality amongst women and men from cohorts born between 1915 and 1960, over ages 45-97. Our results show the relative risks of mortality for adoptive parents are always lower than those of parents with biological children. Mortality amongst adoptive parents is lower for those who adopt more than one child, while for parents with biological children we observe a U-shaped relationship, where parity-two parents have the lowest mortality. Our discussion considers the relative importance of physiological and social depletion effects, and selection processes.

  • 15.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.
    Kolk, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Centre for the Study of Cultural Evolution. Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.
    The Long-Term Cognitive and Socioeconomic Consequences of Birth Intervals: A Within-Family Sibling Comparison Using Swedish Register Data2017In: Demography, ISSN 0070-3370, E-ISSN 1533-7790, Vol. 54, no 2, p. 459-484Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We examine the relationship between birth-to-birth intervals and a variety of mid- and long-term cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes, including high school GPA, cognitive ability, educational attainment, earnings, unemployment status, and receiving government welfare support. Using contemporary Swedish population register data and a within-family sibling comparison design, we find that neither the birth interval preceding the index person nor the birth interval following the index person are associated with any substantively meaningful changes in mid- or long-term outcomes. This is true even for individuals born before or after birth-to-birth intervals of less than 12 months. We conclude that in a contemporary high-income welfare state, there appears to be no relationship between unusually short or long birth intervals and adverse long-term outcomes.

  • 16.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Myrskylä, Mikko
    Advanced Maternal Age and Offspring Outcomes: Reproductive Aging and Counterbalancing Period Trends2016In: Population and Development Review, ISSN 0098-7921, E-ISSN 1728-4457, Vol. 42, no 1, p. 69-94Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 17.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Myrskylä, Mikko
    Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Birth Order and Physical Fitness in Early Adulthood: Evidence from Swedish Military Conscription Data2014In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 123, p. 141-148Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Physical fitness at young adult ages is an important determinant of physical health, cognitive ability, and mortality. However, few studies have addressed the relationship between early life conditions and physical fitness in adulthood. An important potential factor influencing physical fitness is birth order, which prior studies associate with several early- and later-life outcomes such as height and mortality. This is the first study to analyse the association between birth order and physical fitness in late adolescence. We use military conscription data on 218,873 Swedish males born between 1965 and 1977. Physical fitness is measured by a test of maximal working capacity, a measure of cardiovascular fitness closely related to V02max. We use linear regression with sibling fixed effects, meaning a within-family comparison, to eliminate the confounding influence of unobserved factors that vary between siblings. To understand the mechanism we further analyse whether the association between birth order and physical fitness varies by sibship size, parental socioeconomic status, birth cohort or length of the birth interval. We find a strong, negative and monotonic relationship between birth order and physical fitness. For example, third-born children have a maximal working capacity approximately 0.1 (p<0.000) standard deviations lower than first-born children. The association exists both in small (3 or less children) and large families (4 or more children), in high and low socioeconomic status families, and amongst cohorts born in the 1960s and the 1970s. While in the whole population the birth order effect does not depend on the length of the birth intervals, in two-child families a longer birth interval strengthens the advantage of the first-born. Our results illustrate the importance of birth order on physical fitness, and suggest that the first-born advantage already arises in late adolescence.

  • 18.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Myrskylä, Mikko
    Parental age and offspring mortality: Negative effects of reproductive ageing may be counterbalanced by secular increases in longevity2018In: Population Studies, ISSN 0032-4728, E-ISSN 1477-4747, Vol. 72, no 2, p. 157-173Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    As parental ages at birth continue to rise, concerns about the effects of fertility postponement on offspring are increasing. Due to reproductive ageing, advanced parental ages have been associated with negative health outcomes for offspring, including decreased longevity. The literature, however, has neglected to examine the potential benefits of being born at a later date. Secular declines in mortality mean that later birth cohorts are living longer. We analyse mortality over ages 30-74 among 1.9 million Swedish men and women born 1938-60, and use a sibling comparison design that accounts for all time-invariant factors shared by the siblings. When incorporating cohort improvements in mortality, we find that those born to older mothers do not suffer any significant mortality disadvantage, and that those born to older fathers have lower mortality. These findings are likely to be explained by secular declines in mortality counterbalancing the negative effects of reproductive ageing.

  • 19.
    Barclay, Kieron
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.
    Myrskylä, Mikko
    Tynelius, Per
    Berglind, Daniel
    Rasmussen, Finn
    Birth order and hospitalization for alcohol and narcotics use in Sweden2016In: Drug And Alcohol Dependence, ISSN 0376-8716, E-ISSN 1879-0046, Vol. 167, p. 15-22Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Previous studies have shown that birth order is an important predictor of later life health as well as socioeconomic attainment. In this study, we examine the relationship between birth order and hospitalization for alcohol and narcotics use in Sweden. Methods: We study the relationship between birth order and hospitalization related to alcohol and narcotics use before and after the age of 20 using Swedish register data for cohorts born 1987-1994. We apply Cox proportional hazard models and use sibling fixed effects, eliminating confounding by factors shared by the siblings. Results: Before age 20 we find that later born siblings are hospitalized for alcohol use at a higher rate than first-borns, and there is a monotonic increase in the hazard of hospitalization with increasing birth order. Second-borns are hospitalized at a rate 47% higher than first-borns, and third-borns at a rate 65% higher. Similar patterns are observed for hospitalization for narcotics use. After age 20 the pattern is similar, but the association is weaker. These patterns are consistent across various sibling group sizes. Conclusions: Later born siblings are more likely to be hospitalized for both alcohol and narcotics use in Sweden. These birth order effects are substantial in size, and larger than the estimated sex differences for the risk of hospitalization related to alcohol and drug use before age 20, and previous estimates for socioeconomic status differences in alcohol and drug abuse.

  • 20. Goisis, Alice
    et al.
    Remes, Hanna
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.
    Martikainen, Pekka
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS).
    Myrskylä, Mikko
    Advanced Maternal Age and the Risk of Low Birth Weight and Preterm Delivery: a Within-Family Analysis Using Finnish Population Registers2017In: American Journal of Epidemiology, ISSN 0002-9262, E-ISSN 1476-6256, Vol. 186, no 11, p. 1219-1226Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Advanced maternal age at birth is considered a major risk factor for birth outcomes. It is unclear to what extent this association is confounded by maternal characteristics. To test whether advanced maternal age at birth independently increases the risk of low birth weight (< 2,500 g) and preterm birth (< 37 weeks' gestation), we compared between-family models (children born to different mothers at different ages) with within-family models (children born to the same mother at different ages). The latter procedure reduces confounding by unobserved parental characteristics that are shared by siblings. We used Finnish population registers, including 124,098 children born during 1987-2000. When compared with maternal ages 25-29 years in between-family models, maternal ages of 35-39 years and a parts per thousand<yen>40 years were associated with percentage increases of 1.1 points (95% confidence intervals: 0.8, 1.4) and 2.2 points (95% confidence intervals: 1.4, 2.9), respectively, in the probability of low birth weight. The associations are similar for the risk of preterm delivery. In within-family models, the relationship between advanced maternal age and low birth weight or preterm birth is statistically and substantively negligible. In Finland, advanced maternal age is not independently associated with the risk of low birth weight or preterm delivery among mothers who have had at least 2 live births.

  • 21. Goisis, Alice
    et al.
    Remes, Hanna
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. London School of Economics and Political Science, UK; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany.
    Martikainen, Pekka
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). University of Helsinki, Finland; Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Myrskylä, Mikko
    Paternal age and the risk of low birth weight and preterm delivery: a Finnish register-based study2018In: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ISSN 0143-005X, E-ISSN 1470-2738, Vol. 72, no 12, p. 1104-1109Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background Based on existing studies, there is no conclusive evidence as to whether and why paternal age matters for birth outcomes. Methods We used Finnish population registers on 106652 children born 1987-2000. We first document the unadjusted association between paternal age and the risk of low birth weight (LBW; <2500g) and preterm birth (<37 weeks' gestation). Second, we investigate whether the unadjusted association is attenuated on adjustment for child's, maternal and parental socioeconomic characteristics. Third, by adopting a within-family design which involves comparing children born to the same father at different ages, we additionally adjust for unobserved parental characteristics shared between siblings. Results The unadjusted results show that being born to a father aged 40+, as opposed to a father aged 30-34, is associated with an increased risk of LBW of 0.96% (95%CI 0.5% to 1.3%) and to a younger father (<25) with a 1% (95%CI 0.6% to 1.3%) increased risk. The increased risk at younger paternal ages is halved on adjustment for the child's characteristics and fully attenuated on adjustment for child/parental characteristics. The increased risk at paternal ages 40+ ispartially attenuated on adjustment for maternal characteristics (=0.62%; 95%CI 0.13% to 1.1%). Adjustment for unobserved parental characteristics shared by siblings further attenuates the 40+ coefficient (=0.4%; 95%CI -0.5% to -1.2%). Results for preterm delivery are similar. Conclusions The results underscore the importance of considering paternal age as a potential risk factor for adverse birth outcomes and of expanding research on its role and the mechanisms linking it to birth outcomes.

  • 22.
    Kolk, Martin
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Centre for Cultural Evolution. Institute for Futures Studies, Sweden.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Cognitive ability and fertility among Swedish men born 1951–1967: evidence from military conscription registers2019In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 286, no 1902, article id 20190359Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We examine the relationship between cognitive ability and childbearing patterns in contemporary Sweden using administrative register data. The topic has a long history in the social sciences and has been the topic of a large number of studies, many reporting a negative gradient between intelligence and fertility. We link fertility histories to military conscription tests with intelligence scores for all Swedish men born 1951 to 1967. We find a positive relationship between intelligence scores and fertility, and this pattern is consistent across the cohorts we study. The relationship is most pronounced for the transition to a first child, and men with the lowest categories of IQ-scores have the fewest children. Using fixed effects models we additionally control for all factors that are shared by siblings, and after such adjustments we find a stronger positive relationship between IQ and fertility. Furthermore, we find a positive gradient within groups at different levels of education. Compositional differences of this kind are therefore not responsible for the positive gradient we observe - instead the relationship is even stronger after controlling for both educational careers and parental background factors. In our models where we compare brothers to one another we find that, relative to men with IQ 100, the group with the lowest category of cognitive ability have 0.56 fewer children, and men with the highest category have 0.09 more children. 

  • 23. Molitoris, Joseph
    et al.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Kolk, Martin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Centre for Cultural Evolution. Institute for Future Studies, Sweden.
    When and Where Birth Spacing Matters for Child Survival: An International Comparison Using the DHS2019In: Demography, ISSN 0070-3370, E-ISSN 1533-7790, Vol. 56, no 4, p. 1349-1370Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A large body of research has found an association between short birth intervals and the risk of infant mortality in developing countries, but recent work on other perinatal outcomes from highly developed countries has called these claims into question, arguing that previous studies have failed to adequately control for unobserved heterogeneity. Our study addresses this issue by estimating within-family models on a sample of 4.5 million births from 77 countries at various levels of development. We show that after unobserved maternal heterogeneity is controlled for, intervals shorter than 36 months substantially increase the probability of infant death. However, the importance of birth intervals as a determinant of infant mortality varies inversely with maternal education and the strength of the relationship varies regionally. Finally, we demonstrate that the mortality-reducing effects of longer birth intervals are strong at low levels of development but decline steadily toward zero at higher levels of development. These findings offer a clear way to reconcile previous research showing that birth intervals are important for perinatal outcomes in low-income countries but are much less consequential in high-income settings.

  • 24. Myrskylä, M.
    et al.
    Barclay, Kieron
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
    Goisis, A.
    Advantages of later motherhood2017In: Der Gynäkologe, ISSN 0017-5994, E-ISSN 1433-0393, Vol. 50, no 10, p. 767-772Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background

    In high-income countries childbearing has been increasingly postponed since the 1970s and it is crucial to understand the consequences of this demographic shift. The literature has tended to characterize later motherhood as a significant health threat for children and parents.

    Objectives

    We contribute to this debate by reviewing recent evidence suggesting that an older maternal age can also have positive effects.

    Materials

    Literature linking the age at parenthood with the sociodemographic characteristics of the parents, with macrolevel interactions, and with subjective well-being.

    Methods

    Comprehensive review of the existing literature.

    Results

    Recent studies show that there can also be advantages associated with later motherhood. First, whilst in past older mothers had low levels of education and large families, currently older mothers tend to have higher education and smaller families than their younger peers. Consequently, children born to older mothers in the past tended to have worse outcomes than children born to younger mothers, whilst the opposite is true in recent cohorts. Second, postponement of childbearing means that the child is born at a later date and in a later birth cohort, and may benefit from secular changes in the macroenvironment. Evidence shows that when the positive trends in the macroenvironment are strong they overweigh the negative effects of reproductive ageing. Third, existing studies show that happiness increases around and after childbirth among older mothers, whereas for younger mothers the effect does not exist or is short-lived.

    Conclusion

    There are important sociodemographic pathways associated with postponement of childbearing which might compensate or even more than compensate for the biological disadvantages associated with reproductive ageing.

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