Socioeconomic status (SES) of the family of origin is a fundamental indicator of multiple and diverse environmental exposures that might be implicated in chronic disease etiology and survival. Research indicates that men and women with lower SES during childhood have an increased risk of mortality, independent of their socioeconomic characteristics in adulthood. The most consistent link has been established between lower childhood SES and an elevated risk of cardiovascular mortality. In addition, men and women from lower-SES families of origin have elevated mortality from respiratory and digestive diseases, diabetes, smoking-related cancers, and stomach and liver cancers. Yet existing research is characterized by several limitations. In most studies, early-life SES was assessed with one measure, typically fathers'education or occupation, often retrospectively. Moreover, few studies have explicitly examined gender and race differences in the effect of early-life SES on mortality and in the life course pathways explaining this effect. Finally, the mediating mechanisms linking childhood SES and adult mortality remain unclear. An important task is to broaden the methodological arsenal of life course epidemiology by employing methods that are consistent with the theoretical emphasis on life course pathways. Using data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study and the Health and Retirement Study, I will apply Cox regression and structural equation modeling to examine the effect of early-life SES on all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer morality in later life as well as gender and race differences in this effect. Further, I propose to explore socioeconomic characteristics, marital status, and health behaviors in adulthood as mediators of the associations between early-life SES and late-life mortality. Finally, I will analyze whether and how causal pathways linking early-life SES and later-life mortality differ by gender and race. The proposed study will provide new evidence of life course trajectories of social advantage and disadvantage and heterogeneity of these trajectories by gender and race/ethnicity. Moreover, the exploration of mechanisms linking early-life socioeconomic environment to all-cause and cause-specific mortality in later life will improve our understanding of life stages that may be potentially the most important for prevention efforts.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed study has potentially important public health implications. The exploration of causal mechanisms linking early-life socioeconomic environment to all-cause and cause-specific mortality in later life will improve our understanding of life stages that may be potentially the most important for prevention efforts. Because early-life socioeconomic conditions exert their influence on mortality over a long time span, they are more amenable than contemporaneous conditions in adulthood to preventive interventions between childhood and the manifestation of the disease.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Type
Small Research Grants (R03)
Project #
5R03AG040037-02
Application #
8323228
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-PSE-H (80))
Program Officer
Patmios, Georgeanne E
Project Start
2011-09-01
Project End
2014-07-31
Budget Start
2012-08-15
Budget End
2014-07-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$61,090
Indirect Cost
$20,090
Name
Pennsylvania State University
Department
None
Type
Organized Research Units
DUNS #
003403953
City
University Park
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
16802
Tsenkova, Vera; Pudrovska, Tetyana; Karlamangla, Arun (2014) Childhood socioeconomic disadvantage and prediabetes and diabetes in later life: a study of biopsychosocial pathways. Psychosom Med 76:622-8
Pudrovska, Tetyana; Anikputa, Benedicta (2014) Early-life socioeconomic status and mortality in later life: an integration of four life-course mechanisms. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 69:451-60
Pudrovska, Tetyana; Reither, Eric N; Logan, Ellis S et al. (2014) Gender and reinforcing associations between socioeconomic disadvantage and body mass over the life course. J Health Soc Behav 55:283-301
Pudrovska, Tetyana; Logan, Ellis Scott; Richman, Aliza (2014) Early-life social origins of later-life body weight: the role of socioeconomic status and health behaviors over the life course. Soc Sci Res 46:59-71
Pudrovska, Tetyana; Anishkin, Andriy (2013) Early-life socioeconomic status and physical activity in later life: evidence from structural equation models. J Aging Health 25:383-404