Social influences on health over the lifecourse -PhD Thesis-

Publication type

Thesis/Degree/Other Honours


Publication date

June 1, 2003


This collection of published research papers is concerned with social influences on health at different stages of the lifecourse.

The papers are presented in two parts. The first part concerns circumstances and events in early childhood, specifically family and social factors on birth outcomes, early development and antisocial behaviours. The second part concerns adult health and its relationship with life events, social capital and social support.

Three of the four papers in the first part use cross-sectional and longitudinal data from the first two waves of the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY). The other paper uses data from the Birth Register for England and Wales for 1996-1998. Birth outcomes are studied using the first wave of the NLSCY and the Birth Register data using multivariate regression models. The effects of birth outcomes and family circumstances on early childhood development are investigated also using data from the first wave of the NLSCY in a series of multivariate regression models. Precursors to change in antisocial behaviours are studied using NLSCY data from the first two waves by employing a cluster analysis on the behaviours and multinomial regression models to assess change over time.

The four papers in the second part use data from the first ten annual waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to study the relationship between social capital, social support, life events and health over time. A variety of statistical techniques, which include random-effects regression models, Markov chain modelling and discrete time survival analysis, are used to exploit the longitudinal nature of the data. One paper is mainly technical as it investigates the possibility of retest effects in the General Health Questionnaire used in the BHPS while the other three are concerned with the substantive question of influences on health.




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