Health Trajectories over the Life Course: The Consequences of Childhood Health and Social Background Factors
Steven A. Haas, Harvard University
Individual health is not static nor can it be divorced from the cumulative impacts of lived experience. Because its basic theoretical and methodological insight is to recognize that individual life circumstances and the events that shape them are best understood in the context of previous events and circumstances, the life course perspective has the potential to provide great insight into the factors and processes that shape health. This study examines the impact of early life circumstances on life course health trajectories. Specifically, it investigates the effect of poor childhood health and socioeconomic status on both overall level of adult health and disability as well their trajectories over time. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and latent growth curve models I estimate the effects of early life health and social circumstances on both the overall level (latent intercept) and slope of adult health trajectories.