Lifelong Socio Economic Position and biomarkers of later life health: testing the contribution of competing hypotheses

George B Ploubidis, Lenka Benova, Emily Grundy, Daniel Laydon, Bianca DeStavola

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The relative contribution of early or later life Socio Economic Position (SEP) to later life health is not fully understood and there are alternative hypotheses about the pathways through which they may influence health. We used data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing with a formal approach for the identification of mediating factors in order to investigate alternative hypotheses about life course influences on biomarkers of later life health. We found that early life SEP predicts physical health at least 65 years later. However, a more complicated pattern of associations than that implied by previous findings was also observed. Age group specific effects emerged, with current SEP dominating the effect on later life physical health and fibrinogen levels in participants under 65, while early life SEP had a more prominent role in explaining inequalities in physical health for men and women over 75. We extend previous findings on mid adulthood and early old age, to old age and the beginnings of late old age. The complexity of our findings highlights the need for further research on the mechanisms that underlie the association between SEP and later life health.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Pages (from-to)258-65
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging/physiology
  • Biomarkers
  • England/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen/analysis
  • Health Status
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors


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