CitationAndersson, Matthew A.; Maralani, Vida; & Wilkinson, Renae (2021). Origins and Destinations, but How Much and When? Educational Disparities in Smoking and Drinking Across Adolescence and Young Adulthood. Population Research and Policy Review.
AbstractEducational inequalities in health behaviors change dynamically across the life course. Yet, how parental and personal education interactively shape age-specific behavioral inequalities across the transition to adulthood has yet to be understood. Drawing on national Add Health data (N = 12,605; 6,675 women and 5,930 men), we analyze age- and gender-specific trajectories of current smoking and binge drinking from adolescence to young adulthood. In line with previous work, we find that parental education associates with smoking and drinking disparities even after respondents’ own education is completed. Reciprocally, we also find that disparities by eventual educational attainment appear early. During the college years, higher parental education predicts higher—not lower—rates of binge drinking. We find that attaining higher education “against the odds” of an educationally disadvantaged family background circumscribes the lowest rates of smoking and drinking for men and women alike, and especially during the college years, while “falling from grace” by not attaining higher education at levels matching one’s parents predicts the highest levels of smoking and drinking for both genders during or after college. These results shed new light on the interactive socioeconomic processes that help to explain behavioral health gradients across adolescence and adulthood.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePopulation Research and Policy Review
Author(s)Andersson, Matthew A.