The Effects of Early-Life Conditions on Later-Life Health and Mortality in a Cohort of American Women

Evan Roberts , University of Minnesota
Wendy Rahn, University of Minnesota
DeAnn Lazovich, University of Minnesota

Adverse childhood social conditions are associated with higher old-age mortality in American men, but less is known about effects on women. Older women are harder to trace longitudinally because of near-universal surname change at marriage. We add new evidence on the effects of early-life social conditions and family structure by linking 10,375 subjects from the Iowa Women’s Health Study born 1916-1930 to census records from 1930. Subjects matched to early-life censuses were representative of both girls their age living in Iowa at the 1930 census, and the IWHS cohort at enlistment. Conditional on survival to IWHS enrolment in 1986 the following early-life factors were associated with a worse survival experience: growing up in an urban area, having a father employed in manufacturing, lower levels of education, and paternal absence before age 6. Preschool girls without a father in 1930 had a 2 fold increase in mortality risk in later life.

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 Presented in Session 11. Demographic and Health Outcomes of Early Life Exposures