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How are children of older mothers doing? Evidence from the United Kingdom

Goisis, Alice (2015) How are children of older mothers doing? Evidence from the United Kingdom. Biodemography and Social Biology, 61 (3). pp. 231-251. ISSN 1948-5565

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Identification Number: 10.1080/19485565.2014.1001887


Childbearing has been increasingly delayed in Western countries. As older mothers are likely to be advantaged, the demographic literature has tended to view this demographic trend as potentially beneficial for child well-being. Conversely, less attention has been given to medical studies showing that giving birth at advanced ages is associated with health risks for children. This paper uses data from the Millennium Cohort Study (U.K.), OLS and logistic regression models to compare cognitive and behavioural outcomes, and obesity at age 5 for first born children by maternal age at first birth. On one side, the findings suggest that giving birth to the first child at ages 30-39, compared to ages 23-29, is positively associated with children’s cognitive and behavioural outcomes and not associated with obesity. On the other, delaying first births to ages 40 and above is not associated with children’s cognitive and behavioural outcomes and is associated with increased risk of obesity. Although the results are unable to support the argument that this occurs because of the health risks associated with giving birth at advanced maternal ages, they suggest that there is need to more closely investigate the potential trade-offs involved when births are delayed towards older maternal ages.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Society for Biodemography and Social Biology
Divisions: Social Policy
Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2015 15:25
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 02:03
Projects: ES/H013253/1, 336475 (COSTPOST)
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, LSE Titmuss Meinhardt funding, European Research Council

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