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Am J Public Health. 1999 Jul;89(7):1059-65.

The duration and timing of exposure: effects of socioeconomic environment on adult health.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Child Health, London, England. c.power@ich.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study investigated timing and duration effects of socioeconomic status (SES) on self-rated health at 33 years of age and established whether health risks are modified by changing SES and whether cumulative SES operates through education.

METHODS:

Data were from the 1958 British birth cohort. Occupational class at birth and at 16, 23, and 33 years of age was used to generate a lifetime SES score.

RESULTS:

At 33 years of age, 12% of men and women reported poor health. SES at birth and at 16, 23, and 33 years of age was significantly associated with poor health: all ages except 16 years in men made an additional contribution to the prediction of poor health. No large differences in effect sizes emerged, suggesting that timing was not a major factor. Odds of poor health increased by 15% (men) and 18% (women) with a 1-unit increase in the lifetime SES score. Strong effects of lifetime SES persisted after adjustment for education level.

CONCLUSIONS:

SES from birth to 33 years of age had a cumulative effect on poor health in early adulthood. This highlights the importance of duration of exposure to socioeconomic conditions for adult health.

PMID:
10394316
PMCID:
PMC1508840
DOI:
10.2105/ajph.89.7.1059
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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