Introduction We examine the potential mediating role of multiple individual indicators of adult socioeconomic position (SEP) in the associations of childhood SEP with self-reported health measures and health behaviours.
Methods Data came from Wave 3 of the Survey of Family, Income and Employment. Childhood SEP was measured using parental occupation. Adult SEP was measured using education, household income, labour market activity and area deprivation. Self-rated health was assessed by a single-item measure. Psychological distress was assessed using the Kessler-10 scale. Current smoking status was derived from information on current and past cigarette use and binge drinking from information on the number of occasions of bingeing in the last 4 weeks. The associations of childhood SEP with each health outcome were determined using logistic regression, while adjusting for the mediating effects of individual adult SEP indicators.
Results Respondents from a lower childhood SEP had greater odds of being a current smoker, reporting poorer health and higher psychological distress. Two-thirds to three quarters of the association of childhood SEP with smoking (78%), and psychological distress (66%) and over half the association with self-rated health (55%), were explained by educational attainment. Other adult socioeconomic indicators had much smaller mediating effects.
Conclusions The association between childhood SEP and self-rated health, psychological distress and current smoking in adulthood is largely explained through an indirect socioeconomic pathway involving education. Household income, area deprivation and labour market activity are still likely to be important as they are intermediaries in turn, in the socioeconomic pathway between education and health.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.