Changing Childhood Household Contexts and Individual Well-Being in Mexico and the Philippines Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Schmeer, Kammi K.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • This dissertation studies the origins of social inequalities by analyzing the influence that childhood household contexts exert on individuals’ health and education, two important measures of well-being and social status. The key relationships studied here are: (1) father absence due to migration and child illness in rural Mexico; (2) changes in sibsize during childhood and educational attainment in Cebu, Philippines; and, (3) household income effects on underweight and overweight status at the transition to adulthood in Cebu, Philippines. Using prospective, longitudinal data, I find that: (1) father absence due to migration increases child illness especially in the absence of social welfare programs; (2) changes in siblings living in the home tend to decrease educational attainment (although the effects depend on the stage of childhood when the change occurs); and, (3) childhood income affects individuals’ weight status at age 19, with important differences across stages of childhood and by weight status. These findings, overall, suggest that childhood households, and changes in them over time, have important implications for the development of health and education disparities. Future research should pay more attention to measuring changes in household contexts (i.e., the movement of family members in and out, fluctuations in economic and other resources), and to identifying when social contexts matter most for individuals’ well-being.
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  • Entwisle, Barbara
  • Open access

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