International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 8, pp 1203–1214 | Cite as

Advantages and disadvantages across the life course and health status in old age among women in Chile

  • Ignacio Madero-Cabib
  • Ariel AzarEmail author
  • Pedro Pérez-CruzEmail author
Original article



Based on a life course perspective, we assessed the association between three types of social advantages and disadvantages accumulated across different life stages, with the number of self-reported chronic conditions among women aged 60 + in Chile, a Latin-American country with almost no reports on this matter.


We used a population-representative longitudinal survey (Chile’s Social Protection Survey) with information about childhood conditions, economic mobility across life, educational attainment, late adulthood labor-force trajectories, and later-life health, of 2627 women aged 60+. We then used sequence and Poisson regression analyses to assess the effect of life course (dis)advantages over the number of chronic conditions in old age.


Growing up in a poor household and experiencing downward economic mobility (especially among those with a non-poor childhood) increases the predicted number of chronic conditions in old age. By contrast, having a continuous and formal labor-force trajectory in late adulthood and higher educational attainment is associated with fewer chronic conditions later in life.


Policy measures that seek to foster health prevention and health care among older women should consider how multiple exposures to social advantages/disadvantages during earlier stages of the life course could affect health in late life.


Life course Old age Chronic conditions Women Advantages and disadvantages Longitudinal methods Chile 



This work was supported by CONICYT/FONDECYT/INICIACION/N°11180360, CONICYT/FONDAP/Nº15130009, and Millenium Science Initiative of the Ministry of Economy Development and Tourism, Chile, Grant “Millennium Nucleus for the Study of the Life Course and Vulnerability.”

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

We, the authors of this manuscript, certify that we do not have any actual or potential conflict on ethical standards, financial and non-financial interests and compensations, ethical approvals, personal relationships with people or organizations, which could inappropriately influence, or be perceived to influence, our work.

Supplementary material

38_2019_1300_MOESM1_ESM.docx (744 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 744 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Sociología & Departamento de Salud PúblicaPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Millennium Nucleus for the Study of the Life Course and Vulnerability (MLIV)SantiagoChile
  3. 3.Department of SociologyThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  4. 4.Departamento de Medicina Interna, Facultad de MedicinaPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiago CentroChile

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