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Reproductive history, socioeconomic status, and self-reported health status of women aged 50 years or older


  • Kington, R.
  • Lillard, L.
  • Rogowski, J.


Objectives. This paper describes the relationship between self-reported general health status and several facets of reproductive history. Methods. We analyzed survey data on a national probability sample of 1341 women aged 50 and older from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We used multivariate regression techniques to control for differences in health indices that assessed health status and functioning. Results. Women with a history of six or more completed pregnancies were found to be disadvantaged in educational attainment, financial resources, and health status compared with women with no or fewer pregnancies. When current sociodemographic factors were controlled, six or more pregnancies were associated with worse general health and worse physical role functioning. When sociodemographic factors and number of births were controlled, among women with at least one delivery, women who had experienced an infant's death reported worse health as measured by all three indices. Women with a first delivery before the age of 18 were more likely to report a functional limitation. Conclusions. Women with high parity status, a history of an infant's death, and an early first pregnancy may be at greater risk of poor health in later life.

Suggested Citation

  • Kington, R. & Lillard, L. & Rogowski, J., 1997. "Reproductive history, socioeconomic status, and self-reported health status of women aged 50 years or older," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 87(1), pages 33-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:1997:87:1:33-37_3

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    Cited by:

    1. Quaranta, Luciana, 2014. "Early life effects across the life course: The impact of individually defined exogenous measures of disease exposure on mortality by sex in 19th- and 20th-century Southern Sweden," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 266-273.
    2. Susan W. Parker, 1999. "Elderly Health and Salaries in the Mexican Labor Market," Research Department Publications 3051, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    3. Grundy, Emily & Tomassini, Cecilia, 2005. "Fertility history and health in later life: a record linkage study in England and Wales," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 217-228, July.
    4. Martin O’Flaherty & Janeen Baxter & Michele Haynes & Gavin Turrell, 2016. "The Family Life Course and Health: Partnership, Fertility Histories, and Later-Life Physical Health Trajectories in Australia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(3), pages 777-804, June.
    5. Zachary Zimmer & Luoman Bao & Nanette L. Mayol & Feinian Chen & Tita Lorna L. Perez & Paulita L. Duazo, 2017. "Functional limitation trajectories and their determinants among women in the Philippines," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(30), pages 863-892.
    6. Yun Liang & John Gibson, 2017. "Do More Grandchildren Lead to Worse Health Status of Grandparents? Evidence from the China Health and Nutrition Survey," Working Papers in Economics 17/18, University of Waikato.

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