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Adult life experiences and health in early old age in Great Britain

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  • Grundy, Emily
  • Holt, Gemma

Abstract

In Britain and other developed countries older people comprise a large majority of all those reporting long term illness or disability. However, most studies of socio-demographic variations in health have focussed on those in younger age groups. Moreover approaches to the study of health variations are often fragmented. In this study we have adopted a life course approach to analyse differentials in health in early old age. The data comes from the Retirement and Retirement Plans Survey and follow-up, a two-wave study of persons aged 55-69 in 1988/9. As well as information on current circumstances, the data set includes occupational, marital, and fertility history information. At baseline a nationally representative sample of the population of Great Britain were interviewed at home by trained interviewers (n=3543). The sample was followed up and in 1994, 2247 survivors were re-interviewed, a response rate of 70% (of survivors). The data were weighted to adjust for non-response bias. Two outcome measures were used: self rated health and presence or absence of disability assessed from a scale derived from detailed questions on thirteen domains of disability. The severity score used was that developed for the 1985/6 ONS Surveys of Disability. The findings indicate that health and disability status at baseline and at follow up were associated with socio-economic and geographic variables, such as proportion of adult life spent unemployed and residence outside the Southeast of England; demographic factors, such as early age at marriage and high parity; and experience of adverse events, such as the death of a child and being dismissed from work. The results show that socio-economic, demographic, and geographical and 'life events' factors are all associated with health status in early old age and that integrated, rather than bifurcated, approaches to the study of health differentials are needed.

Suggested Citation

  • Grundy, Emily & Holt, Gemma, 2000. "Adult life experiences and health in early old age in Great Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(7), pages 1061-1074, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:7:p:1061-1074
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matthews, Ruth J. & Smith, Lucy K. & Hancock, Ruth M. & Jagger, Carol & Spiers, Nicola A., 2005. "Socioeconomic factors associated with the onset of disability in older age: a longitudinal study of people aged 75 years and over," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(7), pages 1567-1575, October.
    2. Bender, Keith A. & Theodossiou, Ioannis, 2009. "Controlling for endogeneity in the health-socioeconomic status relationship of the near retired," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 977-987, December.
    3. 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, pages 266-273.
    4. 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.
    5. Dalstra, J.A.A. & Kunst, A.E. & Mackenbach, J.P., 2006. "A comparative appraisal of the relationship of education, income and housing tenure with less than good health among the elderly in Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2046-2060, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Thomas Barnay, 2016. "Health, work and working conditions: a review of the European economic literature," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(6), pages 693-709, July.
    8. Cooper, D. & McCausland, W.D. & Theodossiou, I., 2006. "The health hazards of unemployment and poor education: The socioeconomic determinants of health duration in the European Union," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 273-297, December.
    9. Thomas Barnay & François Legendre, 2012. "Simultaneous causality between health status and employment status within the population aged 30-59 in France," Working Papers halshs-00856217, HAL.
    10. Matthews, Ruth J. & Jagger, Carol & Hancock, Ruth M., 2006. "Does socio-economic advantage lead to a longer, healthier old age?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(10), pages 2489-2499, May.
    11. Grundy, Emily & Kravdal, Øystein, 2010. "Fertility history and cause-specific mortality: A register-based analysis of complete cohorts of Norwegian women and men," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1847-1857, June.
    12. Athina Economou & Ioannis Theodossiou, 2011. "Poor And Sick: Estimating The Relationship Between Household Income And Health," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, pages 395-411.
    13. Keith A. Bender & Steffen Habermalz, 2008. "Are There Differences in the Health- Socio-economic Status Relationship over the Life Cycle? Evidence from Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(1), pages 107-125, March.
    14. Kenneth Couch & Christopher Tamborini & Gayle Reznik, 2015. "The Long-Term Health Implications of Marital Disruption: Divorce, Work Limits, and Social Security Disability Benefits Among Men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1487-1512, October.

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