Early Indicators, Intergenerational Processes, and Aging This program project is a competitive continuation of Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease and Death. Since its inception in 1991, EI has made many discoveries about the longitudinal determinants of retirement and of chronic disease and death at older ages by studying aging processes among Union Army veterans of the US Civil War, a group that mostly reached age 65 between 1885 and 1912. Among these discoveries are " health at older ages, particularly for African-Americans, was worse than previously thought; " retirement responsiveness to income transfers was greater than expected; " social networks affected not just behavior but also health;and, " stressful events in early life and at young adult ages reduced longevity, but extreme stress after age 30 left a more robust population. These discoveries were possible because of the creation of longitudinal data sets that follow more than 67,000 Union Army recruits from military service back to childhood and forward to death and contain about 15,000 observations per person. This competitive continuation will take the next step by examining the inter- generational determinants of later longevity and socioeconomic status. The overarching purpose of this continuation is to gain a more precise understanding of 1) how inter- generational processes affect aging and longevity and 2) the mechanisms through which parents transmit socioeconomic status and longevity to their children. Data collected for this continuation will support the research aims outlined in this proposal and will also be made publicly available. We propose two cores and three new scientific projects, which will create intergenerational databases from Early Indicators data: Project #1: Intergenerational Processes and Aging of White Americans Project #2: Intergenerational Processes and Aging of African-Americans Project #3: Intergenerational Processes and Aging in Multiple Generations Core A (Administrative) and B (Data Development) will support data collection, research, and dissemination.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding the determinants of a long and healthy life has both scientific and policy implications. It can provide insights into future longevity and health trends;into the ages at which health and human capital investments may be most effective;and into ways that intergenerational factors may lead to the persistence of inequality in longevity, health, and socioeconomic status by race.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1)
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Patmios, Georgeanne E
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National Bureau of Economic Research
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Costa, Dora L; Kahn, Matthew E (2010) Health, wartime stress, and unit cohesion: evidence from Union Army veterans. Demography 47:45-66
Wilson, Sven E (2010) Prejudice & policy: racial discrimination in the Union Army disability pension system, 1865-1906. Am J Public Health 100 Suppl 1:S56-65
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