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Reconstructing childhood health histories

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  • James Smith

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Abstract

This paper provides evidence about the quality of retrospective childhood health histories given to respondents in the HRS and the PSID. Even though information on early life health events is critical, there is legitimate skepticism about the ability of older respondents to remember specific health problems that they had as a child. The evidence presented in this paper suggests that this is too negative a view. Respondents appear to remember salient childhood events about themselves such as the illnesses they had as a child quite well. Moreover, these physical and psychological childhood health events are important correlates of adult health during middle age.
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Suggested Citation

  • James Smith, 2009. "Reconstructing childhood health histories," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 46(2), pages 387-403, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:46:y:2009:i:2:p:387-403
    DOI: 10.1353/dem.0.0058
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1353/dem.0.0058
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2007. "Vignettes and Self-Reports of Work Disability in the United States and the Netherlands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 461-473, March.
    2. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
    4. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Preston, Samuel H. & Hill, Mark E. & Drevenstedt, Greg L., 1998. "Childhood conditions that predict survival to advanced ages among African-Americans," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(9), pages 1231-1246, November.
    6. Steven Haas, 2007. "The long-term effects of poor childhood health: An assessment and application of retrospective reports," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(1), pages 113-135, February.
    7. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
    8. Blackwell, Debra L. & Hayward, Mark D. & Crimmins, Eileen M., 2001. "Does childhood health affect chronic morbidity in later life?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1269-1284, April.
    9. James P. Smith & Duncan Thomas, 2003. "Remembrances of things past: test-retest reliability of retrospective migration histories," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 166(1), pages 23-49.
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    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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