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The effect of social relations with children on the education-health link in men and women aged 40 and over


  • Antonucci, Toni C.
  • Ajrouch, Kristine J.
  • Janevic, Mary R.


Accumulated evidence demonstrates a strong relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and health. Our examination of this relationship focuses on education, an established indicator of SES, and tests whether social relations, particularly with children, mediate and/or moderate the education-health link for middle-aged and older parents. The data are drawn from a regionally representative sample of adults (aged 40-93) in the Detroit area, USA. All analyses are stratified by gender (N=males: 330; females: 468). A series of multiple regression analyses were performed to test whether social relations mediate the association between education and health. Although analyses revealed no mediation effect, both men and women with less education were found to have smaller social networks. Women with more education confided less in their children than women with less education did. A series of hierarchical regression analyses were performed to test whether social relations variables moderate the relationship between education and health. Separate analyses by gender indicated that men, but not women, with less education who had larger networks and who perceived emotional, financial and sick care support to be available from a child had lower scores on a health problems index. Findings indicate that the health of lower-educated men in the presence of key social supports parallels the advantaged health status of men with higher levels of education. These findings suggest that social relationships may be a protective factor for the health of men in the lower socioeconomic strata.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonucci, Toni C. & Ajrouch, Kristine J. & Janevic, Mary R., 2003. "The effect of social relations with children on the education-health link in men and women aged 40 and over," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 949-960, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:5:p:949-960

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    Cited by:

    1. Emily Grundy & Sanna Read, 2015. "Pathways from fertility history to later life health: Results from analyses of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(4), pages 107-146, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Dong, Gang Nathan, 2016. "Social capital as correlate, antecedent, and consequence of health service demand in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 85-96.
    4. Birditt, Kira & Antonucci, Toni C., 2008. "Life sustaining irritations? Relationship quality and mortality in the context of chronic illness," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(8), pages 1291-1299, October.
    5. Baykara-Krumme, Helen, 2007. "Gar nicht so anders: Eine vergleichende Analyse der Generationenbeziehungen bei Migranten und Einheimischen in der zweiten Lebenshälfte," Discussion Papers, Programme on Intercultural Conflicts and Societal Integration (AKI) SP IV 2007-604, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Nicholson, Amanda & Rose, Richard & Bobak, Martin, 2009. "Association between attendance at religious services and self-reported health in 22 European countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 519-528, August.
    7. Øystein Kravdal, 2010. "Demographers’ interest in fertility trends and determinants in developed countries: Is it warranted?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 22(22), pages 663-690, April.


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