MEDIATING ROLE OF EDUCATION AND LIFESTYLES IN THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EARLY-LIFE CONDITIONS AND HEALTH: EVIDENCE FROM THE 1958 BRITISH COHORT

Authors


Sandy Tubeuf, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, Charles Thackrah Building, 101 Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9LJ (UK). E-mail: s.tubeuf@leeds.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

The paper focuses on the long-term effects of early-life conditions with comparison to lifestyles and educational attainment on health status in a cohort of British people born in 1958. Using the longitudinal follow-up data at age 23, 33, 42 and 46, we build a dynamic model to investigate the influence of each determinant on health and the mediating role of education and lifestyles in the relationship between early-life conditions and later health. Direct and indirect effects of early-life conditions on adult health are explored using auxiliary linear regressions of education and lifestyles and panel Probit specifications of self-assessed health with random effects addressing individual unexplained heterogeneity. Our study shows that early-life conditions are important parameters for adult health accounting for almost 20% of explained health inequality when mediating effects are identified. The contribution of lifestyles reduces from 32% down to 25% when indirect effects of early-life conditions and education are distinguished. Noticeably, the absence of father at the time of birth and experience of financial hardships represent the lead factors for direct effects on health. The absence of obesity at 16 influences health both directly and indirectly working through lifestyles. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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