Childhood socioeconomic status and adult health

Sheldon Cohen*, Denise Janicki-Deverts, Edith Chen, Karen A. Matthews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

340 Scopus citations

Abstract

Socioeconomic status (SES) exposures during childhood are powerful predictors of adult cardiovascular morbidity, cardiovascular mortality, all-cause mortality, and mortality due to a range of specific causes. However, we still know little about when childhood SES exposures matter most, how long they need to last, what behavioral, psychological, or physiological pathways link the childhood SES experience to adult health, and which specific adult health outcomes are vulnerable to childhood SES exposures. Here, we discuss the evidence supporting the link between childhood and adolescent SES and adult health, and explore different environmental, behavioral, and physiological pathways that might explain how early SES would influence adult health. We also address the ages when SES exposures matter most for setting adult health trajectories as well as the role of exposure duration in SES influences on later health. While early childhood exposures seem to be potent predictors of a range of health outcomes, we emphasize that later childhood and adolescent exposures are risks for other health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Biology of Disadvantage Socioeconomic Status and Health
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Pages37-55
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781573317702
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2010

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume1186
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632

Keywords

  • Childhood
  • Health
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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