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J Health Soc Behav. 2008 Mar;49(1):37-55.

Parental health and children's economic well-being.

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Department of Sociology, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY 14260-4140, USA.


The life course perspective emphasizes that past economic experiences and stage in the life course influence a family's ability to cope with negative life events such as poor health. However, traditional analytic approaches are not well-suited to examine how the impact of negative life events differs based on a family's past economic experiences, nor do they typically account for the potentially spurious association between negative life events and family economic well-being. We use finite mixture modeling to examine how changes in parental health affect children's exposure to poverty. We find that for some children the association between family head's health and children's exposure to poverty is spurious, while for other children family head's poor health is associated with increased risk of economic deprivation. The extent to which a family head's poor health alters children's economic well-being depends on a child's family's underlying economic trajectory and past history of exposure to disadvantage.

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