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Early-Life Experience and Old-Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans Dejun Su, Ph. D. The University of Texas- PowerPoint Presentation
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Early-Life Experience and Old-Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans Dejun Su, Ph. D. The University of Texas-

Early-Life Experience and Old-Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans Dejun Su, Ph. D. The University of Texas-

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Early-Life Experience and Old-Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans Dejun Su, Ph. D. The University of Texas-

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  1. LOGO Early-Life Experience and Old-Age Mortality: Evidence from Union Army Veterans Dejun Su, Ph. D. The University of Texas-Pan American ABSTRACT STUDY OBJECTIVES CONCLUSIONS KEY FINDINGS FIGURES (2) Figure 3: Occupational Difference in Height • Being born in autumn (September to November) is associated with a six percent lower mortality risk than being born in spring (March to May), this survival advantage associated with autumn-born, however, did not come into effect until late into old age. • Veterans who were born in Germany and Ireland had significantly higher mortality risk in old age than their native-born counterparts. • Coming from big cities prior to enlistment–defined as one of the 25 largest cities in 1860 with a minimum population of 37,000–is associated with an elevated mortality risk of 15 percent. But the survival disadvantage associated with coming from big cities only becomes significant in the period from 1900 to 1910, but not in the period after 1910. • Coming from North Atlantic region is associated with a higher mortality risk as compared to coming from other regions prior to enlistment. • Height at enlistment shows a negative association with the chance of survival after 1900. • Veterans who were farmers prior to enlistment had the lowest mortality risk in old age. • To examine the relation between risk exposures prior to enlistment and old-age survival among Union Army veterans, and evaluate the robustness of this relation with and without the incorporation of SES in later life. • To identify the life stage(s) in later life when early-life exposures can have a significant impact. • To delineate the trends in the relation between early-life experience and old-age survival by comparing findings from Union Army veterans with corresponding findings from more recent birth cohorts. This study examines the relation between risk exposures in early life and hazard of mortality among 12,000 Union Army veterans aged 50 and over in 1900. Veterans’ risk exposures prior to enlistment as approximated by birth season and country, residential location, height at enlistment, and occupation prior to enlistment significantly influence their chance of survival after 1900. These effects are robust irrespective of whether or not wartime stress and socioeconomic well-being circa 1900 are taken into account, however, they are sensitive to the particular life stage in later life that has been selected for survival analysis. Compared to corresponding findings from more recent cohorts, the exceptional rigidity of the effects of risk exposures prior to enlistment on old-age mortality among the veterans highlights the harshness of living conditions in their early life. Keywords: risk exposures in early life; old-age mortality; life course perspective; Union Army Veterans. • Veteran’s risk exposures prior to enlistment as approximated by birth season and country, residential location, height at enlistment, and occupation prior to enlistment significantly influence their chance of survival after 1900. • Whereas some of the effects such as being born in Ireland, coming from big cities, and occupation mainly influence survival between 1900 and 1910, the effects of being born in autumn, residential locations, and being the tallest third are more salient on survival after 1910. • Compared to corresponding findings from more recent cohorts, the exceptional rigidity of the effects of risk exposures prior to enlistment on old-age mortality among the veterans highlights the harshness of living conditions in their early life. TABLE DATA & METHODS The data used in this study comes from a subset of the Union Army Sample (Fogel 2000, 2001) that contains detailed records on major life events from childhood to death for roughly 12,000 Union Army soldiers who fought the American Civil War. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT BACKGROUND This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (grant number P01 AG10120). The paper was adapted from my dissertation “Old-age Mortality in a Life Course Perspective: Union Army Veterans 1805-1946.” I thank Linda Waite, Robert Fogel, Patrick Heuveline, and Tom Chappelear for their comments. Possible errors in this study are sole responsibility of the author. • In light of the literature on the life-course approach to • old age survival, three questions are in need of further • clarification: • Whether and to what extent socioeconomic conditions in later life can modify the observed impact of early-life conditions on survival in later life. • The second pending issue pertains to the identification of the life stage(s) in later life when risk exposures in early life can have a significant impact on health and survival. • Whether and to what extent the relation between risk exposures in early life and old-age survival have changed over time. FIGURES (1) Figure 2: Birth Season and Height at Enlistment The focal dependent variable is the hazard rate of dying at any time after 1900 given that a veteran has survived to 1900, which is modeled in the Cox Proportional Hazard (CPH) analysis as a function of exposures to risk factors across three life stages: early life, wartime experience and socioeconomic conditions circa 1900. CONTACT INFORMATION Mailing Address: Department of Sociology The University of Texas- Pan American 1201 W. University Drive SBS 341 Edinburg, TX 78541 Email:dsu@utpa.edu Phone: (956) 380-8798 Fax: (956) 381-2343 List of Variables