“Out-of-Sequence” Schooling and Mothers’ Health and Health Behaviors

Jennifer Augustine , University of South Carolina

Although the links between education and heath are robust and growing in significance, what remains unclear is whether such links are observed when education is obtained “out of sequence.” I investigate this policy and theoretically important issue by examining the health returns to education for mothers’ who reentered the education after the birth of a child. This particular focus is timely, given recent trends in many mothers’ return to higher education, the growing education gap in women’s health, and the connections between maternal health and children’s health and development. Data come from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. The analysis involves fixed effects modeling techniques and a diverse set of maternal health measures associated with child health that reflect mother’s physical health, mental health, and health behaviors. The results speak to policy debates on how to narrow health disparities across generations and life course theories linking education to health.

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 Presented in Session 138. Life Course, Population Health, and Mortality