IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Socioeconomic inequality in birth weight and gestational age in Denmark 1996–2007: Using a family-based approach to explore alternative explanations

Listed author(s):
  • Mortensen, Laust H.
Registered author(s):

    A large body of literature has reported associations between socioeconomic position and adverse pregnancy outcomes even in affluent egalitarian welfare states. This study explored the nature of this relationship by examining women who changed socioeconomic position between pregnancies and women who were siblings but were different in terms of socioeconomic position. Data consisted of 471,215 live born singletons born in Denmark 1997–2007 with at least one sibling or one first cousin. We examined parental educational attainment and household income in relation to preterm birth and small for gestational age using Cox regression. Household income was only weakly related to these outcomes. Paternal education was strongly associated with the outcomes only in the cohort analyses. Maternal education was inversely associated with preterm birth only in the cohort analyses, where the least educated women had the highest risk. Maternal education was inversely associated with the risk of small for gestational age in cohort analyses, attenuated between mothers who were siblings, and not present between children who were siblings. For example, the hazard ratio of preterm birth of women with a college/university degree when compared to women with only mandatory education was 0.64 (95% confidence interval: 0.60–0.67) in the cohort analysis, 0.90 (0.78–1.04) between mothers who were siblings, and 1.01 (0.82–1.24) between children who were siblings. The corresponding hazard ratios of small for gestational age were 0.54 (0.52–0.56), 0.72 (0.63–0.83), and 1.02 (0.84–1.24). This suggests that the associations were partly explained by factors shared between mothers who are siblings. In conclusion, the early life circumstances of mothers appear to be important in understanding the association between education, preterm birth and small for gestational age.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

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

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 76 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 1-7

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:76:y:2013:i:c:p:1-7
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.08.021
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Sandewall, Örjan & Cesarini, David & Johannesson, Magnus, 2014. "The co-twin methodology and returns to schooling — testing a critical assumption," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 1-10.
    2. Reime, Birgit & Ratner, Pamela A. & Tomaselli-Reime, Sandra N. & Kelly, Ann & Schuecking, Beate A. & Wenzlaff, Paul, 2006. "The role of mediating factors in the association between social deprivation and low birth weight in Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1731-1744, April.
    3. Dowd, Jennifer Beam, 2007. "Early childhood origins of the income/health gradient: The role of maternal health behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 1202-1213, September.
    4. Hoffmann, Rasmus, 2011. "Socioeconomic inequalities in old-age mortality: A comparison of Denmark and the USA," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(12), pages 1986-1992, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:76:y:2013:i:c:p:1-7. 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)

    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.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.