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Adolescent Cognitive and Non-cognitive Correlates of Adult Health

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  • Robert Kaestner

Abstract

While it is widely acknowledged that the family and childhood environments affect adult well being, why they matter is still an area of significant debate. Previous research concerned with this issue has focused on the influence of family income, family structure, and cognitive ability. Much of this research has focused on economic and social outcomes. Notably, the influence of childhood environments on adult health has not received as much attention as other outcomes, and when health has been the focus, interest has been mainly on childhood health. Here, I present a descriptive analysis of the associations between cognitive and non-cognitive traits measured at the end of childhood (age 14) and mental and physical health at age 41. Results suggest that, on average, adolescent cognitive ability and self esteem have a significant association with health at age 41. Other non-cognitive factors such as locus of control and adolescent substance use do not have significant associations with adult health. Net of adolescent influences, completed education has a significant association with adult health.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Kaestner, 2009. "Adolescent Cognitive and Non-cognitive Correlates of Adult Health," NBER Working Papers 14924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14924
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    Cited by:

    1. Humphries, John Eric & Kosse, Fabian, 2017. "On the interpretation of non-cognitive skills – What is being measured and why it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 174-185.
    2. Peter Frauke H. & Spiess C. Katharina, 2016. "Family Instability and Locus of Control in Adolescence," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(3), pages 1439-1471, September.
    3. Gabriella Conti & James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua, 2010. "Early endowments, education, and health," Working Papers 2011-001, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Michael Grossman, 2015. "The Relationship between Health and Schooling: What's New?," Working Papers 8, City University of New York Graduate Center, Ph.D. Program in Economics.
    5. Conti, Gabriella & Frühwirth-Schnatter, Sylvia & Heckman, James J. & Piatek, Rémi, 2014. "Bayesian exploratory factor analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 183(1), pages 31-57.
    6. Trivitt, Julie & Cheng, Albert, 2016. "When you say nothing at all: The predictive power of student effort on surveysAuthor-Name: Hitt, Collin," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 105-119.
    7. Gabriella Conti & James J. Heckman, 2012. "The Economics of Child Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 18466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2009. "The Economics and Psychology of Inequality and Human DEvelopment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 320-364, 04-05.
    9. Bijwaard, Govert & Myrskylä, Mikko & Tynelius, Per & Rasmussen, Finn, 2016. "Education, Cognitive Ability and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Structural Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 10137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Bijwaard, Govert E. & van Kippersluis, Hans & Veenman, Justus, 2015. "Education and health: The role of cognitive ability," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 29-43.
    11. Strulik, Holger, 2011. "Health and Education: Understanding the Gradient," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-487, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    12. Naci Mocan & Duha Altindag, 2014. "Education, cognition, health knowledge, and health behavior," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 15(3), pages 265-279, April.
    13. Henry Saffer, 2014. "Self-regulation and Health," NBER Working Papers 20483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    15. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, 2011. "Are High-Quality Schools Enough to Increase Achievement among the Poor? Evidence from the Harlem Children's Zone," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 158-187, July.
    16. Strulik, Holger, 2016. "The return to education in terms of wealth and health," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 293, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    17. repec:zbw:espost:168322 is not listed on IDEAS
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    19. Ampaabeng, Samuel K. & Tan, Chih Ming, 2013. "The long-term cognitive consequences of early childhood malnutrition: The case of famine in Ghana," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1013-1027.
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    21. Will Dobbie & Roland G. Fryer, Jr, 2009. "Are High Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap? Evidence from a Social Experiment in Harlem," NBER Working Papers 15473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Conti, Gabriella & Hansman, Christopher, 2013. "Personality and the education–health gradient: A note on “Understanding differences in health behaviors by education”," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 480-485.
    23. Kaestner, Robert, 2016. "Do `Skills Beget Skills'? Evidence on the effect of kindergarten entrance age on the evolution of cognitive and non-cognitive skill gaps in childhoodAuthor-Name: Lubotsky, Darren," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 194-206.

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    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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