Table 6

 Early-life indicators of family structure

IndicatorLocation, study designIndicator of SEP measuredCriteria
P, prospectively; R, retrospectively; SEP, socioeconomic position.
Family structure at age 15 yearsUSA, National Longitudinal Survey of Older Men73RValidity:Family structure, used to distinguish families with two parents from single-parent families, and living conditions in the parental home, such as number of siblings and crowding, may influence adult SEP, and thus health in adulthood117Relevance:Historical context and cohort effects need to be taken into account Reliability:More likely to be recalled accurately than categories such as parents’ education or occupation Time frame or age within indicator question may affect responses as circumstances may change throughout early lifeDeconstruction:Not applicable
Family size1946 British Birth Cohort112P
1958 British Birth Cohort78P
Sweden, Level of Living Surveys, longitudinal79R
Sweden, Cross-sectional Stockholm Female Coronary Risk Study118R
USA, Woodlawn Cohort Study75P
Number of younger siblingsUSA, longitudinal National Survey of Children63P
Marital status of parentsUSA, Longitudinal National Survey of Children63P
Mother’s marital status at participant’s birthSweden, Uppsala Birth Cohort Study116P
Ever in lone-parent family before participant aged 16 yearsBritish Household Panel Survey, cross-sectional113R
Single parent family when participant aged 11 and 16 years1958 British Birth Cohort78P
Lived with both biological parents (or not) until age 16 yearsUSA, Cross-sectional National Survey of Midlife Development54R
Parental divorce or separation during childhoodSweden, Level of Living Surveys, longitudinal79R
Parental divorce or separation before participant aged 26 years1946 British Birth Cohort112P
Parental divorce or death before participant aged 16 years1958 British Birth Cohort113,127P
Birth orderBrazil, Cross-sectional Cianorte survey of school children64,65R
1946 British Birth Cohort72,112P
Sweden, Cross-sectional Stockholm Female Coronary Risk Study118R
Sweden, Uppsala Birth Cohort Study116P