The Intergenerational Transfer of Education Credentials and Health: Evidence from the 2008 General Social Survey-National Death Index

Friedman, Esther M.; Muennig, Peter A.

Background. The educational attainment of a parent is a powerful predictor of children’s wellbeing, but little is known about why this is the case. Methods. We used the 2008 General Social Survey to explore factors that may explain the relationship between one’s father’s education and one’s own mortality. These include (1) intellectual traits, (2) material wellbeing, (3) psychological characteristics, (4) personality characteristics, and (5) social capital. Results. The education credentials of one’s father are significantly associated with one’s risk of death. The strongest mediators are own educational attainment, family income, home ownership, and subjective socioeconomic status. To a lesser extent, respondents’ happiness with friends and work and social bonding were also pathways. Conclusions. A father’s educational attainment appears to influence his children’s health, and may do so not only by improving the child’s material circumstances but also through his or her educational attainment and other psychological and social characteristics.


Also Published In

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved

More About This Work

Academic Units
Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins University Press
Published Here
November 7, 2016