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Mediation of the effect of childhood socioeconomic position by educational attainment on adult chronic disease in Chile


  • Patricia Frenz

    () (University of Chile)

  • Jay S. Kaufman

    (McGill University)

  • Carolina Nazzal

    (University of Chile)

  • Gabriel Cavada

    (University of Chile)

  • Francisco Cerecera

    (Departamento de Estudios)

  • Nicolás Silva

    (University of Chile)


Abstract Objectives We estimated the roles of childhood socioeconomic position (ChSEP) and education attainment on chronic diseases in Chilean adults, mediated through structural determinants and health behaviors, to identify potential pro-equity interventions. Methods We analyzed Chile’s longitudinal Social Protection Surveys, a national sample of 14,788 adults with follow-up to 2009. Controlled direct effects (CDE) and natural effects (NDE and NIE) of ChSEP and education on number of chronic diseases were estimated with negative binomial models. Results CDE of low ChSEP with education fixed at 12 years showed a 12% increase with 4% indirect effects. CDEs at favorable levels of BMI, smoking, alcohol use, and physical activity were similar. CDE estimates for education adjusted for ChSEP were larger with negligible mediation. CDEs for women were generally larger. Conclusions Low ChSEP exerts a primarily direct effect on later chronic disease, modestly mediated by education. Education attainment showed larger direct effects with minimal mediation by behaviors. Strengthening current–early child development and education policies, particularly gender aspects, may reduce social inequalities and key pathways for reducing chronic disease inequalities in Chile.

Suggested Citation

  • Patricia Frenz & Jay S. Kaufman & Carolina Nazzal & Gabriel Cavada & Francisco Cerecera & Nicolás Silva, 2017. "Mediation of the effect of childhood socioeconomic position by educational attainment on adult chronic disease in Chile," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 62(9), pages 1007-1017, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ijphth:v:62:y:2017:i:9:d:10.1007_s00038-017-0996-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s00038-017-0996-z

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