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Lifelong socio economic position and biomarkers of later life health: testing the contribution of competing hypotheses

Ploubidis, George B., Benova, Lenka, Grundy, Emily, Laydon, Daniel and DeStavola, Bianca (2014) Lifelong socio economic position and biomarkers of later life health: testing the contribution of competing hypotheses. Social Science & Medicine, 119. 258 - 265. ISSN 0277-9536

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.018


The relative contribution of early or later life Socio Economic Position (SEP) to later life health is not fully understood and there are alternative hypotheses about the pathways through which they may influence health. We used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing with a formal approach for the identification of mediating factors in order to investigate alternative hypotheses about life course influences on biomarkers of later life health. We found that early life SEP predicts physical health at least 65 years later. However, a more complicated pattern of associations than that implied by previous findings was also observed. Age group specific effects emerged, with current SEP dominating the effect on later life physical health and fibrinogen levels in participants under 65, while early life SEP had a more prominent role in explaining inequalities in physical health for men and women over 75. We extend previous findings on mid adulthood and early old age, to old age and the beginnings of late old age. The complexity of our findings highlights the need for further research on the mechanisms that underlie the association between SEP and later life health.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2014 14:17
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:19
Projects: ES/I025561/2, G0802442
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council

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