IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Life course accumulation of disadvantage: childhood health and hazard exposure during adulthood


  • Holland, P.
  • Berney, L.
  • Blane, D.
  • Davey Smith, G.
  • Gunnell, D. J.
  • Montgomery, S. M.


The present paper examines the association between physical and social disadvantage during childhood and lifetime exposure to health-damaging environments. Study members were participants of Boyd Orr's clinical, social and dietary survey conducted between 1937 and 1939 and were aged between 5 and 14 years at clinical examination. Study participants were traced and between 1997 and 1998 a random sample of 294 were interviewed. The lifegrid interview method was used to collect full occupational, residential and household histories, from which accumulated lifetime exposures to a range of environmental hazards were estimated. Age-adjusted height during childhood was found to be inversely related to subsequent exposure to all hazards combined (males p=0.002; females p=0.001). This relationship was found in males with manual fathers (p=0.044) and females with non-manual fathers (p=0.035). Chronic disease during childhood was also associated with greater subsequent hazard exposure in males with manual fathers (p=0.008). Among females with non-manual fathers, in contrast, chronic disease during childhood was associated with reduced subsequent hazard exposure (p=0.05). These findings suggest that exposure to health-damaging environments during adulthood may accumulate on top of health disadvantage during childhood and that this process of life course accumulation of disadvantage may vary by gender and childhood social class.

Suggested Citation

  • Holland, P. & Berney, L. & Blane, D. & Davey Smith, G. & Gunnell, D. J. & Montgomery, S. M., 2000. "Life course accumulation of disadvantage: childhood health and hazard exposure during adulthood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(9), pages 1285-1295, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:9:p:1285-1295

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Elovainio, Marko & Kivimäki, Mika & Ek, Ellen & Vahtera, Jussi & Honkonen, Teija & Taanila, Anja & Veijola, Juha & Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta, 2007. "The effect of pre-employment factors on job control, job strain and psychological distress: A 31-year longitudinal study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 187-199, July.
    2. Mäkinen, Tomi & Laaksonen, Mikko & Lahelma, Eero & Rahkonen, Ossi, 2006. "Associations of childhood circumstances with physical and mental functioning in adulthood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 1831-1839, April.
    3. Kris Inwood & Les Oxley & Evan Roberts, 2008. "Physical stature and its interpretation in nineteenth century New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 08/22, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    4. Almquist, Ylva B. & Brännström, Lars, 2012. "Childhood Peer Status and the Clustering of Adverse Living Conditions in Adulthood," Working Paper Series 1/2012, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    5. Mariachiara Di Cesare & Ricardo Sabates, 2013. "Access to antenatal care and children’s cognitive development: a comparative analysis in Ethiopia, Peru, Vietnam and India," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 58(3), pages 459-467, June.
    6. Tampubolon, Gindo, 2010. "Recall error and recall bias in life course epidemiology," MPRA Paper 23847, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Elwell-Sutton, Timothy M. & Jiang, Chao Qiang & Zhang, Wei Sen & Cheng, Kar Keung & Lam, Tai Hing & Leung, Gabriel M. & Schooling, C.M., 2011. "Socioeconomic influences at different life stages on health in Guangzhou, China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(11), pages 1884-1892, June.
    8. Steven Prus, 2007. "Age, SES, and Health: A Population Level Analysis of Health Inequalities over the Life Course," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 181, McMaster University.
    9. FFF1Emmanuelle NNN1Cambois, 2004. "Occupational and educational differentials in mortality in French elderly people," Demographic Research Special Collections, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 2(11), pages 277-304, April.
    10. Almquist, Ylva B. & Brännström, Lars, 2014. "Childhood peer status and the clustering of social, economic, and health-related circumstances in adulthood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 67-75.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:50:y:2000:i:9:p:1285-1295. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.