Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The dynamics of health disparities among American children: Socioeconomic status, family environment and intergenerational transmission
by Song, Jingya, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2012, 136; 3549327
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines health disparity among American children and the dynamic change of health disparity over time as children grow up. It diagnoses the reasons of child health disparities by analyzing the dynamic mechanism between children's health, parents' socioeconomic status and family environment. Furthermore, it examines how this disparity transmits from one generation to the next.

Using data from Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and Child Development Supplement (CDS), we are able to identify the socioeconomic variables associated with child health disparity. We then analyze the effects of the same set of variables separately for two major ethnicity groups: non-Latino White children and African-American children.

The data records three waves of interview following the same group of children, which gives us the benefit of observing the change of health and health disparity as children grow up. Using income-related health mobility index, we find that underlying the seemingly stable child health disparity over time, the initially poor children improves their health more than the initially wealthy children, which means that they have progressive income-related health mobility; but meanwhile, the income ranking changes in the same direction of child health change. The analysis implies that policies that protect family from negative income shock will be the most effective in reducing child-health disparity.

Next, we examine the association between family income and child health in the context of "income gradient" in health. We examine two possible pathways that income positively affects child health through chronic conditions: one is that income can reduce the risk of falling into poor health for children with chronic conditions, the so called "income buffer effect"; the other is that income can reduce the risk of children obtaining chronic conditions. Last, we diagnose the obesity problem of children and the intergenerational transmission of obesity in their relationships with family environment and intra-family relationships. We find that parental love and care can affect child body fatness genetically through the intergenerational transmission of physical fatness, and psychologically through shaping the positive behavior of children.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lahiri, Kajal
Commitee: Chatterji, Pinka, Jones, John
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Economics
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Economics, Epidemiology
Keywords: American children, Child health, Family environment, Health disparity, Intergenerational transmission, Socioeconomic status
Publication Number: 3549327
ISBN: 978-1-267-85583-1
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