It is well known that early-life exposure to conflict has a negative effect on self-rated health in late life. However, the pathways through which this occurs need to be explored more in depth. Focusing on cohorts brought up during World War II the aim of this study is to shed light on the mechanisms through which early-life exposure to contexts of conflict affect health in later life. We propose two theoretical approaches.The critical periods perspective suggests exposure during a developmentally salient period has direct negative effects on health in late. Conversely, the cumulative risks perspective suggests exposure in early life will alter baseline characteristics that alter life course trajectories and pose higher risks for health in late life. The results suggest exposure had a direct negative effect on functional limitations in late life, which in turn affected self-rated health in late life. The evidence supports the critical periods theoretical scheme.
Presented in Session 114. The Life Course Origins of Self-rated Health