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H. Luke Shaefer

Effects of child and adolescent health on educational progress

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Le, Felice, Ana Diez Roux, and Hal Morgenstern. 2013. "Effects of child and adolescent health on educational progress." Social Science and Medicine, 76(1): 57-66.

Understanding how childhood and adolescent health may affect schooling is important for understanding the socioeconomic ramifications of poor early-life health as well as the relations between schooling and adult health. Using three waves of U.S. longitudinal data with extensive covariate information on a national sample of 2368 American children aged 5-14 at baseline, we used regression methods to investigate how patterns of general health status over a 10-year period relate to completed years of schooling at the end of follow-up. As a sensitivity analysis, we used sibling fixed effects models to help control for differences stemming from familial or community factors shared between siblings. The effect of health on years of completed schooling appeared to accumulate over time, and was more evident among children who were older at baseline. Among participants aged 5-7, 8-10, and 11-14 at baseline, average differences in years of completed schooling between participants with poor health in all 3 waves and those with good health in all 3 waves were 0.02 ([95% confidence interval] -0.31, 0.35), -0.50 (-0.88, -0.12), and -1.28 (-1.78, -0.78), respectively. Point estimates from fixed effects models were very similar. Our results document the emergence and compounding over time of health-related disparities in schooling at young ages, suggesting a vicious cycle between poor health and educational outcomes. Future research better characterizing how early-life health affects educational progress will ultimately be necessary for developing effective interventions to reduce educational and health disparities. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.10.005 (Full Text)

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