Tracing the Origins of Successful Aging: The Role of Childhood Conditions and Societal Context
This study investigates the role of childhood conditions and societal context in older Europeansâ€™ propensity to age successfully, controlling for later life risk factors. Successful aging was assessed following Rowe and Kahnâ€™s conceptualization, using baseline interviews from the first two waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). These data were merged with retrospective life-histories of participants from 13 Continental European countries, collected in 2008-09 as part of the SHARELIFE project. Our sample consists of 22,474 men and women, who are representative of the non-institutionalized population aged 50 or older (mean age: 63.3) in their respective country. Estimating multilevel logistic models, we controlled for demographics (age, sex), childhood conditions (SES, health, cognition), later life risk factors (various dimensions of SES and health behaviors), as well as country-level measures of public social expenditures and social inequality. There is an dependent association of childhood living conditions with eldersâ€™ odds of aging well. Higher parental SES, better math and reading skills, as well as self-reports of good childhood health were positively associated with successful aging, even if contemporary characteristics were controlled for. Later-life SES and health behaviors exhibited the expected correlations with our dependent variable. Moreover, higher levels of public social expenditures and lower levels of income inequality were associated with a greater probability to meet Rowe and Kahnâ€™s successful aging criterion. We conclude that unfavorable childhood conditions exhibit a harmful influence on individualsâ€™ chances to age well across all European welfare states considered in this study. Policy interventions should thus aim at improving the conditions for successful aging throughout the entire life-course.
|Date of creation:||15 Feb 2011|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 München, Germany|
Web page: http://www.mea.mpisoc.mpg.de/
|Order Information:|| Email: |
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:11237. 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: (Henning Frankenberger)
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.