The long-term effects of poor childhood health: An assessment and application of retrospective reports

Abstract

This study assesses retrospective childhood health reports and examines childhood health as a predictor of adult health. The results suggest that such reports are of reasonable reliability as to warrant their judicious use in population research. They also demonstrate a large positive relationship between childhood and adult health. Compared with excellent, very good, or good childhood health, poor childhood health is associated with more than three times greater odds of having poor adult self-rated health and twice the risk of a work-limiting disability or a chronic health condition. These associations are independent of childhood and current socioeconomic position and healthrelated risk behaviors.

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This research was supported by a predoctoral training grant from the National Institute on Aging (T32AG00129) and NIA support to the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Demography of Health and Aging (P30 AG17266). Additional support provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health & Society Scholars Program is also gratefully acknowledged. I would like to thank Alberto Palloni, Karen Swallen, Robert M. Hauser, Lisa Berkman, Ichiro Kawachi, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments

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Haas, S.A. The long-term effects of poor childhood health: An assessment and application of retrospective reports. Demography 44, 113–135 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1353/dem.2007.0003

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Keywords

  • Adult Height
  • Adult Health
  • Current Health Status
  • Poor Childhood Health
  • Adult Health Outcome