Estimating direct effects of parental occupation on Spaniards’ health by birth cohort



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Pinilla, Jaime and López Valcarcel, Beatriz G and Urbanos Garrido, Rosa María (2017) Estimating direct effects of parental occupation on Spaniards’ health by birth cohort. BMC Public Health, 17 (11). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1471-2458

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Background: Social health inequalities in adult population are partly due to socioeconomic circumstances in childhood. A better understanding of how those circumstances affect health during adulthood may improve the opportunities for reducing health disparities. The objective of this study is to investigate the effect of parental socioeconomic status, which is proxied by occupation, on adult Spaniards’ health by birth cohort. The analysis will allow checking not only the direct impact of parental occupation on their offspring’s health, but also whether inherited inequality has been reduced over time.

Methods: We use data from the Bank of Spain’s Survey of Household Finances on Spanish households from 2002 to 2008. Sequential models were used to estimate the influence of the father’s and mother’s occupation on their offspring’s health, trying to disentangle direct from indirect effects. With a sample of 26,832 persons we consider effects for four different cohorts by birth periods ranging from 1916 to 1981.

Results: The results show that parental occupation has a significant direct impact on individuals’ health (p < 0.01). The effect of father’s occupation exceeds that of mother’s. For those born before 1936, the probability of reporting a good health status ranges from 0.31 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.14–0.48), when fathers were classified as unskilled elementary workers, to 0.98 (95% CI 0.98–0.99) when they were managers or mid-level professionals. For those born during the period 1959–1975, those probabilities are 0.49 (95% CI 0.39–0.59) and 0.97 (95% CI 0.96–0.98), respectively. Therefore, health inequalities linked to parental socioeconomic status have been noticeably reduced, although discrimination against unskilled workers persists over time.

Conclusions: Great progress has been made in the health area during the twentieth century, so that the impact of parental socioeconomic status on individuals’ health has been significantly tempered for those at the bottom of the social scale. However, more efforts focused on the improvement of living conditions for most socioeconomically disadvantaged are needed in order to further reduce social inequalities in health.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Intergenerational transmission; Self-assessed health; Socioeconomic status; Cohort effects.
Subjects:Medical sciences > Medicine > Public health
Social sciences > Sociology > Statistics and social indicators
ID Code:57982
Deposited On:02 Dec 2019 13:46
Last Modified:02 Dec 2019 15:46

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