Associations of Childhood: Adult Socioeconomic Status With Health Outcomes Among Middle-Aged and Older Chinese

Zhongda Li

Using data from the first wave of China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), a nationally representative sample of middle-aged and older Chinese, this study, firstly examines the effects of childhood, adult socioeconomic status on several health outcomes (self-rated health, chronic disease status, cognitive function, and ADL/IADL disability), secondly tests the effects of social mobility in terms of rural-urban residence and intergenerational education. I find that childhood socioeconomic status exerts long-term effects on later life health, and achieved conditions play more important roles for all the outcomes. The effects of childhood socioeconomic status are mediated by adult conditions for self-rated health, ADL/IADL disability, but not for cognitive function, manifesting indirect and direct mechanisms respectively. This study also verify that health-related behaviors have marginal explanatory power for the effects of socioeconomic status. The results on social mobility show that social mobility and health in later life are linked in complex ways.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging