The long-term consequence of early life misfortune on health inequality
Refereed Article, 2018
Shi, Z., & Wu, C. (2018). Zǎonián bùxìng duì jiànkāng bù píngděng de chángyuǎn yǐngxiǎng: Shēngmìng lìchéng yǔ shuāngchóng lěijī lièshì [The long-term consequence of early life misfortune on health inequality]. Sociological Studies, 33(3), 162-192.
This article examines the impact of early life adversity on health inequality from a life course perspective. We develop a dual interaction model that considers how both the frequency as well as the duration of early life adversity might shape an individual's health. Analyzing data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS, 2011-2014), we show that not only does early life adversity have a direct effect on an individual's health, but throughout the life course it also produces cumulative disadvantages through worsening the individual's life conditions such as less education, lower social-economic status, and less job security. The combination of the frequency of adversity experience and the length of exposure creates an exponential effect on poor health, contributing to the persistence of health inequality in contemporary Chinese society.