Does Early Motherhood have Adverse Consequences for Later Socio-Economic Circumstances and Health? Evidence from Two British Longitudinal Studies

Suzanne L. Butterworth, University College London
Mike Wadsworth
Emily Grundy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Cecilia Tomassini, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

This paper contributes to the debate about the impact of early motherhood on women's later life health. Two British nationally representative longitudinal studies are used to examine associations between early childbearing and mid-life health and investigate whether these are still apparent after allowance for antecedent characteristics of early mothers. Both datasets show that early motherhood is a raised risk for a socially disadvantaged adult life. Neither physical nor mental health disadvantage were fully accounted for by factors associated with selection into early motherhood or by factors associated with adult socio-economic circumstances, suggesting some potential long term biological effect of early pregnancy.

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Presented in Session 71: Adolescent Fertility