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Childhood family income and life outcomes in adulthood: Findings from a 30-year longitudinal study in New Zealand


  • Gibb, Sheree J.
  • Fergusson, David M.
  • Horwood, L. John


The aims of this study were to use data gathered over the course of a 30-year longitudinal study to examine the linkages between economic circumstances in childhood and subsequent developmental outcomes spanning educational achievement; economic circumstances; crime; mental health; and teenage pregnancy. All of these outcomes have been linked with childhood economic conditions and it is frequently argued that reducing income inequalities will mitigate psychosocial risks of children reared in families facing economic hardship. Alternatively it may be suggested that the associations between childhood family economic circumstances and later outcomes are mediated by individual, family and social factors that are correlated with low family income and contribute to later outcomes. To examine these issues, data were drawn from a birth cohort of New Zealand children born in 1977 and followed to age 30.

Suggested Citation

  • Gibb, Sheree J. & Fergusson, David M. & Horwood, L. John, 2012. "Childhood family income and life outcomes in adulthood: Findings from a 30-year longitudinal study in New Zealand," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 1979-1986.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:12:p:1979-1986
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.02.028

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lundberg, Olle, 1997. "Childhood conditions, sense of coherence, social class and adult ill health: Exploring their theoretical and empirical relations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 821-831, March.
    2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    3. McLaughlin, Katie A. & Breslau, Joshua & Green, Jennifer Greif & Lakoma, Matthew D. & Sampson, Nancy A. & Zaslavsky, Alan M. & Kessler, Ronald C., 2011. "Childhood socio-economic status and the onset, persistence, and severity of DSM-IV mental disorders in a US national sample," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(7), pages 1088-1096.
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    1. Les enfants, premières victimes de la crise économique en France
      by (David Marguerit) in BS Initiative on 2014-12-04 14:51:07


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    Cited by:

    1. Bago, Jean-Louis & Ouédraogo, Moussa & Akakpo, Koffi & Lompo, Miaba Louise & Souratié, Wamadini dite Minata & Ouédraogo, Ernest, 2020. "Early Childhood Education and Child Development: New Evidence from Ghana," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    2. S. Mahuteau & K. Mavromaras, 2014. "An analysis of the impact of socio-economic disadvantage and school quality on the probability of school dropout," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 389-411, August.
    3. Fiona Imlach Gunasekara & Kristie Carter & Peter Crampton & Tony Blakely, 2013. "Income and individual deprivation as predictors of health over time," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 58(4), pages 501-511, August.
    4. Lay-Yee, Roy & Milne, Barry & Davis, Peter & Pearson, Janet & McLay, Jessica, 2015. "Determinants and disparities: A simulation approach to the case of child health care," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 202-211.
    5. Bago, Jean-Louis & Ouédraogo, Moussa & Akakpo, Koffi & Lompo, Miaba Louise & Souratié, Wamadini M. & Ouédraogo, Ernest, 2019. "Early Childhood Education and Children Development : Evidence from Ghana," MPRA Paper 95868, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Wänström, Linda & Wegmann, Bertil, 2017. "Effects of sibship size on intelligence, school performance and adult income: Some evidence from Swedish data," Intelligence, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1-11.


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